Hey boys and girls.
It’s your boy with the most. Back at it again. I would like to say that I didn’t need to go through half a bottle of cheap Rosé to overcome my writer’s block. But who the hell am I kidding? 😞
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed not too long ago. I then came across an interesting photo a friend of mine put up. Also, this happened to coincide with a time when we’d lost a shit ton of employees at my job. All at once! Take a read below.
Unless you’ve been a self-starter and entrepreneur since birth, a lot of you reading this article would have had to leave one job for another. The reasons may vary. And even though you may not have experienced this personally, there’s a pretty good chance you know someone that has. But before I begin, let me bring out the infamous Derricko Disclaimer.
‘I will be discussing this topic based on my personal experiences alone. I always try to be very objective. But that does not eliminate my own personal bias from interfering every now and then. Sooooo, whatever I say here should not be considered as being representative of a larger group. Ever.’
Now unto the good stuff.
First things first… I’m the realest :D.
I couldn’t resist a cheeky Iggy Azalea reference. Okay seriously though. First things first, the photo right above didn’t address a very important issue. The issue being the targets and expectations placed on managers’ shoulders by their own bosses. These targets may be ridiculous sometimes, and it is the manager’s job to ensure that these goals are met. Sometimes, at the expense of his subordinates’ happiness. A manager is not a boss. He/she is simply just that… a manager. A human that manages resources.
The more companies strive for profits, the more the managers responsible for dealing with employees feel the pressure. Sometimes, it’s very hard to believe that any company cares about the customer anymore.
But before I go into why a good employee would leave a company, let me say something about me first.
I consider myself a very well-rounded individual in the workplace. What I mean is that my learning potential is very high, I am proactive, organised, an excellent communicator and I have good leadership skills. I work in a kitchen currently. But my superiors can confirm that I am extremely picky about what extra responsibilities I choose to accept. This is primarily because I understand the work and extra stress involved in being a manager or Head Chef. The pain is usually not worth the extra money. Maybe if you are as single as me. But not when you have a ton of extra responsibilities e.g. wife/husband and kids. Honestly, I don’t envy their jobs despite the fact that they have my utmost respect. But I guess that feeling varies greatly from one industry to another, or one company to the next.
At work, I have forcefully carved out a middle ground for myself. A middle ground where I can actually carry out some responsibilities of a Sous Chef, without really being one. This means that by not taking up the role fully, I can carry out the extra responsibilities that are fun to me. While at the same time, avoiding the ones that would negatively affect my peace of mind and overall happiness. That cross can be carried by someone else that has a real desire to become Head Chef. I am just a journeyman that cares more about his peace of mind and colleagues’ respect, with no real desire to pursue a career in the food industry. I sponge everything that I can, because there is a lot you can learn in a restaurant kitchen. From food, to the paramount importance of being organised, to leading and how to wage war. But while I find all these things fun, my real passion is writing interesting stuff like these. (I hope you really find my articles interesting or we might have a problem :D).
Carving such a middle ground is not something that can be done overnight. To be able to do something like this, you have to have enough skill to make YOU extremely hard to replace. That alone is your bargaining chip. Especially when you’re busy making money for someone else.
Really though, this was supposed to be an article about Why Employees Leave. Why are you rambling on about yourself?
Ah shit. Okay. After doing a lot of reading around, I compiled a list of reasons why employees would jump ship. A lot of these I have seen happen time and time and time again.
- A Bad/Unqualified Superior. Simple.
A lot of employees leave their jobs because of a shitty relationship with their boss/manager. Not because of the overall company culture. We all know that. Granted, we can agree that some managers are just plain shitty individuals. People with a superiority complex which is basically a front to conceal their mediocrity. But from my experience, I’ve seen managers get swallowed up by expectations from upper management. Setting ridiculous targets while providing the manager with little access to resources. As a result, the brunt of the stress is transferred unto the employee and thus the manager becomes the asshole. Let us give credit to those superiors that somehow manage to balance employee morale and target achievement, despite limited access to resources.
Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates. It’s impossible to work for someone eight-plus hours a day when they aren’t personally involved and don’t care about anything other than your production yield.
2. Unfulfilled Promises.
This is a major one. You’re given a job, then promised a certain number of benefits. It could be more work hours, better pay, or a promotion when you meet certain targets. But then, what happens when you start asking for your benefits? Management suddenly develops a very convenient case of amnesia.
‘Oh shit, did we promise you that?’
‘Nah fam, you tripping. We don’t do employee insurance here.’
‘Bruh , you got that promotion since you hit all dem targets…. wait. Psych!’ And so on.
Making promises to people places you on a fine line. This lies between making them very happy and watching them walk out the door. When management honours a commitment, they grow in the eyes of employees because they prove themselves trustworthy and honorable. But when you disregard your commitment, you come across as a slimy and disrespectful little shit. Time to take my skills elsewhere.
3. Poor Work-Culture.
In the simplest way, Culture can be defined as ‘how we do things’. Every company has a work culture they develop and identify with. Not everyone can fit and that’s fine, as long as the ones that identify with the culture stay. Every workplace culture is different. Some jobs require that you take your breaks seriously while others don’t. Some others always show recognition for good work done while others not so much. And so on.
Different people have different needs and pet peeves. Despite that, no one wants to spend ridiculous hours in jobs and environments that are stifling and negative. This impacts a person’s ability to be creative and helps no one. I have usually had luck with choosing places where I work though. Because I find it easy to assimilate most work environments with ease.
4. Poor work-life Balance.
This one is music to my ears because I keep telling people about this a lot. ‘If your life outside of work is generally unexciting, then there is no way you can be happy at work.‘ Kitchens and industrial jobs are notorious for their long hours. Ridiculously long hours at a job suck at your happiness like a vacuum cleaner. I am notorious for dodging long hours like a plague. Firstly, because I don’t really need those hours. Secondly, because I know just how long hours help in shaping people’s decisions to quit. I don’t even have any kids! Imagine what it is like for an employee with kids. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing something you are passionate about. There is always a downside to overdoing something. If you don’t get a break, your passion becomes a chore.
Let us also consider the fact that even without the long hours, employees’ personal circumstances make them use work as an escape. These could involve troublesome relationships at home, losing a loved one, loneliness, homelessness and many others (bills!!). Even though work distracts them temporarily from their problems, it’s not nearly enough to make them offer 100%. So, sometimes they just succumb to the pressure of it all and leave. Capitalism 1 – Mental Health 0.
Look. There are countless other reasons we could add here.
Lack of flexibility for employees with kids.
Little to No opportunity for career improvement.
Lack of recognition.
A job with little meaning and fulfillment. And so on.
But I do not wanna write a notoriously long article. Mostly because I need to run off to work or I’ll miss my bus. Also, I want you guys to discuss some of the other reasons you know of in the comments. I am writing this article merely to inform and to raise discussion. But it should go without saying that if you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them.
As Dr Travis Bradberry put it. ‘While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you.’
Alright guys. This is it. Let me know in the comments what other reasons you know of that would make you leave a work environment. And if possible, suggest what can be done about it.
Thanks for reading and I’ll be seeing you guys around XX