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Why Would a Happy Employee Leave Your Company?

The job market is changing. Gone are the days where employees found a job and settled in for life. A long ‘work history’ section on your resume was once associated with job hopping and was looked at negatively. No longer.
Today’s workforce not only expects to change jobs frequently, many employment experts recommend a job change every four years. Surely, however, this only applies to disgruntled employees, right? Surprisingly, even employees who reportedly love their job and identify themselves as “happy” are leaving their positions.
Canadian work patterns revealed the new normal for work.
Between the years of 1990 and 2000, nearly 60% of people stayed in their job for at least four years.
By 2014, the numbers were vastly different. In fact, 30% of people who started a new job in 2013 had already changed jobs by the end of 2014.
What happened? What has changed in the workplace that has employees reporting that 23% of people look for a new job every day? The answer is both simple and complex.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Things that weren’t even a consideration even five years ago have become reality, and the job market reflects those changes. There are new positions available that didn’t even exist just a few years ago, and it is easier than ever to find a new job.
Thanks to an ever-expanding availability of connections, you can find job postings for companies around the world right on your phone. For a generation of employees who thrive on experiences, “Why not?” has become a mantra.
Why not take a job on the other side of the country for a few years? You can always come back home. Why not try a completely different field? New opportunities arise every day and being able to take advantage of them is a chance many people won’t pass up.
My Potential
In addition, employees are less willing to stay at a job where they don’t see potential. Even a relatively happy employee may react strongly to management transition, shifting job responsibilities or discord among co-workers.
Nearly 40% of employees reported leaving their job because of a poor relationship with their boss. How many of those bosses would be shocked to know they caused their employee to leave? Too often, management assumes that everything is fine because there are no obvious problems.
“Stay Interview”???
Communicate early and often. Some employers have adopted an approach called a “stay interview”. Similar to an exit interview, the employer takes the opportunity to find out what the employee likes about their job, and rather than waiting until an exit interview to find out why an employee is leaving, these employers are taking the initiative to find out what the employee likes about their job.
It is also an opportunity to get feedback about potential issues, hear suggestions for improvement and more. If a stay interview seems too formal, simply look for ways to engage with your employees more often to help you get a feel for their attitude toward their job and their own personal and professional goals.
Offer Opportunities
Many of today’s employees are looking for new positions that give them a wider range of advancement options. Do you have a path forward that they can see? Do you offer training and development programs for your employees? These are excellent ways to keep your employees motivated and engaged at work.
Richard Branson once summed up his philosophy of keeping employees happy by stating, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.” While there is no guarantee that employees will stay forever, you can make your workplace so attractive to employees that they will have little reason to leave.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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