Turnover Ain’t Just an Apple Fritter: Why Your Employees Keep Quitting

By Jill Ater

Turnover. I’m not talking about the tasty, gooey apple kind. I’m talking about the money-sucking, time-consuming, keep-your-business-from-moving-forward, personnel hell kind. Yes, I’m talking about employee turnover and why your employees keep quitting.

How can you possibly run your business and get ahead when your employees keep leaving as soon as they’re trained?

And while you might want to blame it on the lack of work ethic in today’s entitled society, here’s a thought… maybe it’s you.

You may be dang good at the skills required for your career, but being a good manager of people is an entirely different animal.  Being a great manager is an art and if your employees are dropping like flies, you are probably not the artist you think you are. We regularly hear from employees that quit perfectly good jobs, not because of the work, but because of their lack of respect for their supervisor.

So how do managers, supervisors and business owners drive away the employees they so desperately need? Look at the following types of less-than-desirable management styles.  If you see yourself in the mirror of any of the five styles, maybe it’s time for that art class.

Situation #1: The Micro Manager
You hire the right people, make sure they are skilled at the job requirements, give them the tools they need… and then watch every move they make.  You review every aspect of their work and never trust them to make a decision on their own.  You may as well be doing the work yourself.  It’s painful for you to watch your employees do anything differently than the way you would do it – even if you think their end point is correct.  And you’re driving them crazy by not allowing them to do their job without you constantly looking over their shoulder.

Situation #2: The Absent Supervisor
You hire the right people, you get them situated and going on their work… and then you disappear.  There’s no input or feedback, no discussions or comments.  You literally leave them hanging without a clue as to whether they are doing things correctly or how you would ideally like the work done.  Heck, they don’t even know if they are doing what you want them to be doing!  You assume no news is good news, while your employees are wondering if you even know they’re alive.

Situation #3: The Sucker
So you know that you hired the right person with the perfect set of skills for the job at hand.  But now you’re asking them if they can do some extra project, permanently pick up this little duty or ask them if they know anything about graphic design.  They took the job expecting one set of responsibilities and you’ve piled on a dozen more – many outside (or even beneath) their skill set.  You expect them to be a team player.  They expect to have a life outside of work.

Situation #4: The Verbal Abuser
Yes, you hire the right person technically, but you never notice what they are doing right, you nitpick the little things and you critique their every move.  It’s your style to regularly yell at employees and you never compliment them because, heck, it’s their job and they’re supposed to do their job.  They feel threatened and inadequate, which lowers the quality of their work.  You don’t respect them and, in turn, they don’t respect you.

Situation #5: Kumbaya
You want to have a happy environment in your office where everyone on the team is part of the solution.  You have after-work get-togethers and celebrate everyone’s birthday.  You care about your employees’ kids and their health and how grandma is feeling since she moved to the retirement home.  You let your employees help choose new staff because you want everyone to get along and be happy. So what’s the problem? You’re acting like a camp counselor, not a manager!   You want to please everyone, but instead, your employees feel smothered and are craving leadership.

The Right Balance
Employees want a manager who is like a good parent.  They want to feel appreciated and that you care for them, but they also want the freedom to do the job they were hired to do.  They want clear expectations and an open door for discussion and changes.  And as they prove themselves, they want you to reward them with a “job well done” and perhaps a little more independence in their work. When they do something wrong or less than you expect, they want you to let them know, in a professional way, how to improve their work.  Employees want you to be friendly and sensitive to their world outside of work; yet they do not want you to meddle into their personal lives. You want to have a great team, but you’ve got to be a great coach.

Ultimately, your goal as a manager should be to help your employees succeed in a supportive, unobtrusive way while they leverage their skills to help your business thrive.  You may be surprised at how much your employee turnover decreases when you simply strike the right management balance and come to understand that it was you and not them causing the turnover.

Now reward yourself and go get that fritter.

2 Responses to “Turnover Ain’t Just an Apple Fritter: Why Your Employees Keep Quitting”

  1. […] personnel-hell kind. Yes, I’m talking about employee turnover. Read more This entry was posted in Uncategorized by AdminWM. Bookmark the […]

  2. Chris says:

    My old manager was VERY guilty of #4. I quit that job after a little over a month because it was that bad. She only pointed out what I did wrong, regularly humiliated me in front of others, and never apologized for her childish behavior. I was not allowed to ask her any questions, lest I be treated like an idiot. And if I didn’t ask her questions, she would yell at me as if she expected that I read her mind. It got to the point that I felt like I never did anything right. Worst of all, she reminded me that she was the supervisor and had the power to do whatever the hell she wanted. She treated like she was the owner and I was the slave, like how Harriet Tubman was treated (minus the whipping, of course).

    So I left, but I am still overcoming kicked puppy syndrome as a result. Granted, this was a short while ago, but it was still a very horrible experience that I wish I never took that job in the first place.

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