7 Mistakes that Could Drive Your Star Employees Out the Door

by Tim Parker

Your best employees are worth their weight in gold. The last thing you want is for them to quit and go to work for the competition. Be sure you aren't making one of these mistakes.

overworked employee
Image source: GraphicStock.com

You’ve probably experienced this. If you haven’t, you’re either too early in your development to have employees or you haven’t been in business long enough.

You hire somebody that is nothing short of awesome. You train them, move them to a position with more responsibility, and out of nowhere they come to you with a resignation letter.

It feels like a slap in the face! You tell them how valuable they are but by the time they submit the letter, you know that it’s nearly impossible to get them to stay. They leave and the process of finding the next amazing employee starts again.

Regardless of how good of a manager you are, sometimes employees are going to leave. Often, their departure stems from factors outside of your control but it’s still a good time to make sure you aren’t making these mistakes.

1. You aren’t paying enough- Yes, you’re a small business but your employees are working to pay the bills, put food on the table, and build a nest egg. Other factors are important but money is a primary motivator.

For employees that prove to be valuable, pay market rates or above as soon as you can. Is it understandable that you’re a small business and don’t have a large budget to pay what the major corporations pay? Yes, but asking somebody to accept less money than they can make elsewhere isn’t inviting a loyal, long-term employee.

Don’t know the “market rates?” The Bureau of Labor Statistics can help.

2. You aren’t training enough- A star employee didn’t get that way by accident. They love to learn and they want to be a little better each day. What does that mean for you? Constantly give them opportunities to train. Send them to conferences, pay for a new certification, or connect them with somebody you know in the industry.

Is there a chance that you’ll invest heavily into them and they’ll take all of that knowledge to another company? Yes, but it’s a chance worth taking.

SEE ALSO: Employee Retention: The Truth About Turnover

3. You aren’t challenging enough- As they receive the training, they’re eager to put it to work. They aren’t happy coming to work and doing the same job every day. As a manager, you should constantly look for a new way to challenge them. Adding more work isn’t the answer. As they solve a problem, give them a new one to tackle.

4. You aren’t respecting their time- While this is true of any employee, it quickly becomes a problem with great employees, often without you realizing. Because they’re reliable, they’re the first people you call on to take care of important tasks but you can’t overload them.

Respect their job description. Let them know that you expect them to put their family first and want them to tell you if they feel overloaded. Be careful not to burn them out.

5. You make them work 9-5- We live in a connected world. In most businesses, employees can do a portion of their work from just about anywhere. Star employees who have gained your trust can work anywhere, anytime they would like so let them make their schedule.

Sure, there will be meetings and other scheduled events they must attend (and they understand that) but outside of that, judge their performance instead of the amount of time they spend at their desk.

SEE ALSO: Top Ten Reasons Why People Quit Their Jobs

6. You don’t praise enough- Bad managers have the attitude that if somebody is getting paid, doing a great job is an expectation—not something special. Everybody should come to work to do a great job but if you aren’t the complimenting type, you’re likely to have higher employee turnover.

Everybody likes a compliment. At home, from friends, on Facebook, and by their boss, public recognition makes people smile and lets them know that you care.

7. You don’t ask for enough feedback- Your great employees have a wealth of ideas. If you aren’t asking for them, you’re missing out on something that could transform your business.

But more important, ask them how they feel about their job and encourage them to be honest. Simply asking and listening goes a long way but with that information, you can constantly tweak their position to keep up with how they’re evolving as a professional.

SEE ALSO: Why You Need to Ask for Feedback from Employees

Bottom Line

Even if you do all of the right things, sometimes employees will leave. When they do, don’t hold a grudge. Give them a grand sendoff, and commit to keeping in touch. Keeping a relationship in place could be lucrative for you. What if you used them as an independent contractor for some projects? What if they send you other great employees they meet?

Just because they’re leaving doesn’t mean that they’re no longer valuable to you.

© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc., DBA Business Know-How®.  May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission.

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