The U.S. unemployment rate is continuing its downward trend, which means there are more job openings than there are individuals to fill them. This situation makes losing an employee painful to bear and, according to a Harvard Business Review article, it can cost up to $4,000 and 24 days to replace an employee who quits.
In the article, Jon Christiansen, co-founder of Insights and Outcomes, a data-driven strategy and predictive analytics company based in Greenville, S.C., identified eight common leadership mistakes that explain why people quit and how you can prevent them:
- Setting inconsistent goals or expectations. Employees who are forced to choose between tasks to meet competing expectations results in a stressed-out team without clear priorities. To avoid this problem, be consistently clear about your expectations. For example, safety should always come first followed by productivity.
- Having too many process restraints. Forcing a worker to wait for several other tasks to be completed before moving forward with a project can inhibit performance. Christiansen suggests asking employees about the hurdles they face and working to resolve and streamline the processes holding them back.
- Wasting resources. Basically, hold fewer meetings. Too many meetings put time constraints on employees who already are under pressure to perform.
- Putting people in the wrong roles. Often, people are overqualified or underqualified for their roles. To rectify this, review an employee’s original job description to see whether it reflects his or her current duties and change it if necessary.
- Assigning boring or overly easy tasks. Employees who have light workloads but take long times to complete tasks may be bored. Christiansen says: “Give [employees] work that will enhance their knowledge [or] skills or help them grow in the right direction.”
- Failing to create a psychologically safe culture. Quiet employees may be afraid of speaking up, which makes them more prone to error and hampers their ability to grow. You can avoid this by being open to feedback and humble when you make mistakes.
- Creating a work environment that is “too” safe. On the flip side of fear is complacency. A workforce that feels too secure often becomes less productive and less loyal. Providing a healthy mix of negative and positive feedback will give employees necessary friction to help them thrive.
- Leading with bias. Cultivating a trusting manager-employee relationship depends on you being fair. Employees will not work toward a common goal if it is clear they are treated differently.
Although these are not foolproof suggestions, even small improvements in these areas can help you retain key employees.
Ambika Puniani Reid is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.