Have you noticed that John has been slacking lately? He has been late three times this week, and customers are starting to complain about him. That doesn’t sound like John though does it? John has been one of your top guys for a long time now. But lately it seems like he is just doing enough to get by. Well, that is because John is about to quit!
The question you are left to ask yourself is why? Let’s look at why people leave jobs and explore how you can keep your best people.
The "I Hate My Boss" Exit
There is a saying, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” and it is true. This doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends with all your employees, but the fact of the matter is that people don’t want to work for someone that they don’t respect. Now you may be thinking one of two things;
- I am a great boss, this doesn’t apply to me.
- Am I a great boss, does this apply to me?
To help figure out if you are a “good boss”, here are few common characteristics people associate with a horrible boss.
A horrible boss is a boss that never recognizes a job well done, has unreasonable expectations, and shows a lack of communication. Understand that to be a good manager is to be a strong leader.
A key factor to avoiding the “I hate my boss” exit is to be approachable. Being an approachable boss means being compassionate, understanding, and helpful.
If your technicians are comfortable with you, they are more likely to be more productive and transparent with you if they are exploring other job opportunities.
Trust is also a powerful retention tool. There is a simple model known as a Trust Triangle that you can use to building true trust with your staff. The three components to the Trust Triangle are;
Authenticity: To be truthful with your staff when you are speaking with them.
Logic: Your staff needs to be able to understand what you are telling them.
Empathy: They need to see that you genuinely care about them.
When you establish trust with all of these elements, your team will stand by you, even in the tough times.
The "It Was A Dead-End Job" Exit
No one on your team wants to just slave their life away doing the same thing day in and day out. If they wanted that, they would work in a factory. People frequently leave jobs because they feel trapped. Without the opportunity to challenge themselves and work towards new goals, employees become stagnant.
Your technicians need room to grow. There needs to be something to work towards to keep them engaged. This typically will mean room for advancement in responsibility or the ability to develop new skills.
Technology and techniques are always changing. Instead of always sending the same techs to learn about the latest and greatest, rotate in more of the team. Have them spend a day at a trade show learning about what is coming, as they may also be able to spot a new trend better than you since they are in the field.
Engaged technicians are more passionate about their work and will better represent your company to your customers. They will speak with pride about their work because they are motivated to succeed.
The "Something Better Came Along" Exit
Although sometimes people will leave for that extra dollar an hour, the truth is money is not often the driving factor for this exit. It can be, but if you are paying your team competitively, money probably is not what they mean by something better.
They were likely looking for a new job because they did not feel empowered. This ties in with the previous points, the “something better” exit is caused by overall job dissatisfaction. If members of your team feel like they aren’t a good fit, then they aren’t going to be a good fit as a result.
To catch this in your organization, start by watching the way your staff interacts with each other. If you find that there is someone who is not engaging with the rest of the team check in with them.
Just asking how things are going starts a conversation and can help you identify potential pain points. Not everyone will come forward, but if you check in they will likely share their experience. Ignore their problems and they just go away when something better comes along.
The "I Can't Stand Working With..." Exit
Sometimes your service team won’t act like a team. When you have people who don’t get along well stuck doing jobs together in a truck everyday, they are bound to clash.
When that happens, it can impact morale. People are more focused on the negativity than they are on their jobs. Historically, stressful and toxic work environments have higher turnover rates.
If you were going to lose your top performer because they couldn’t handle working with one of your less valuable team members and the situation could not be resolved, what would you do?
This is an ethical issue that you have to deal with based on the specifics of the situation. This is one of the messier situations that has a less clear solution. Be advised that if you do start firing people because more senior members of the team do not like them, you are giving those senior members new levels of influence.
Instead see if there are opportunities to switch up the work teams to find a better fit for both team members
The "They Wanted Too Much From Me" Exit
Overworking your staff is a short term solution. When people are being asked to do too much they begin to under perform because they can’t keep up with the demand of their workload. They take shortcuts and sacrifice quality. If you have enough work to bring on more staff long term, do it.
If you overwork a smaller staff, between turnover and overtime you are going to be spending way more money. If finding good technicians is a challenge then check out our article; How to Hire and Keep Good Technicians.
If it is because you have rushes at certain times, look into taking advantage of part-time workers, temporary/contracted workers, or co-op students. These short term employees may even impress you on occasion and turn into long term team members.
The "That Place Was A Joke" Exit
Similar to the “they wanted too much” exit, this is a matter of perspective on what an employer should expect from an technician.
When a former technician refers to a company as being a joke, it is a commentary on the organization structure, management styles, and the policies and procedures that are in place.
These individuals feel that they spend too much time caught up in the bureaucracy associated with their job. If these feelings exist in your team, then it is likely a shared feeling that is talked about but never confronted.
Manual processes commonly associated with paperwork often slow down productivity. Automating some of these processes can make your team run more effectively and decrease the level of frustration your team experiences.
Many employees just want to feel as if they are being heard. They want to be assured that you understand their pain points and take their opinions into consideration.
This can be difficult to accomplish on an individual level for larger organizations. In which case, having monthly or quarterly meetings with small groups of employees can be a viable alternative.
When running these feedback meetings, have the organizer be a notable member of the organization. This will reinforce the idea that the feedback being given is reaching the right people. Furthermore, take action on the feedback, otherwise your teams will continue to feel as though their feedback is falling on deaf ears.
Don’t tune out turn over, take action.