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9 reasons good employees leave -- and how you can prevent it

Rich Hein | Dec. 15, 2014
The average tenure for IT workers is less than 3.8 years, according to Payscale. And while you’ll never eliminate employee turnover, these strategies can help you motivate and ultimately retain your best talent.

Provide Career Advancement Opportunities
One of the main reasons top performers leave is because they feel that their career advancement isn't going as planned.

"It doesn't matter if they like what they're working on, who they're working with and are compensated fairly or more than fairly," says David Foote, chief analyst and research officer, Foote Partners. "They have to feel there's something in it for them personally." Otherwise, they will be tempted to search for employment elsewhere, or be susceptible to recruiters.

But what if you don't have any nonmanagerial career paths, or employees don't want to become managers? Your best individual contributors aren't always going to want to manage people. So you need to build a path of advancement for them or you will find them on their way out the door when another organization does.

"There are plenty of individual contributor roles that can make an impact in companies," says Joe Topinka, CIO, SnapAV. "Have clear career pathways for managers and supervisors as well as people who want to stay in an individual contributor path," he advises. "Business relationship managers, or as I like to refer to them, IT business partners, are good examples of people that can really make an impact in this regard. They don't have to manage people to drive real and meaningful business results in companies that are rewarded," he explains.

Stevens agrees. "It is important to recognize that not everyone is interested in or cut out for managing people," he says. "So there must be an opportunity to advance along a couple of trajectories, [such as] technical SME and leadership/management... [where] both career paths are viable growth vectors."

Give Employees Feedback
If your managers are offering constructive feedback on a regular basis and talking about career goals at least once a year with employees, then your organization is probably better connected with your employees than most. While many experts agree that once a year performance reviews are the minimum, most agree that more is better, especially with millennials.

"The more frequently you can have those [performance] discussions, the easier it is to catch and correct a [problem] and support great behavior or performance," says Furlow. "Having a structured and pointed career development session every 6 months with the employees on your teams can add huge value when it comes to growth, engagement and retention."

Regular feedback will also give you more warning when people are feeling dissatisfied or disengaged. "Checking in with your employees a couple times a year provides a sense of interest in the employee's success and in many cases will give early warnings of dissatisfaction, allowing for an opportunity to change course if warranted," says Stevens.


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