The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It's Too Late Hardcover – Jan 3 2005
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Canadian HR Reporter: "An insightful and sobering account."
About the Author
Leigh Branham is the author of Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business and Founder/Principal of the consulting firm Keeping the People, Inc. (www.keepingthepeople.com). He is widely recognized as an authority on employee engagement and the best practices of organizations that continually boast exceptional retention. He lives in Overland Park, Kansas, and can be reached via email at LB@keepingthepeople.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At the heart of the book is the deep look into some why employees leave, and several comprehensive studies are summarized here to help dissect the real reasons your company may be losing talent. When it comes to determining the real reasons for dissatisfaction, and eventual disengagement from your company, some of the key reasons center around "mismatch" between the job and the person, and basic leadership failures around coaching, feedback, value, recognition, trust, confidence in leadership, and a lack of a career development opportunity.
What I found most useful were the many insights into the psychology of how and why people feel valued and stay loyal. The book lists four fundamental human needs, which if not met, are triggers for disengagement and loss of talent; Trust; Hope: Worth; Feeling Competent. (Page 20). The quote that opens the section on coaching and feedback sums up the gap, and connection to the psychology involved in ensuring your organization can retain its key talent: "The manager needs to look at the employee not as a problem to be solved, but as a person to be understood." (Page 70). The connection and human dynamic is demonstrated with clarity as the key to creating an environment that enables engaged performers, but it is also one of the most common gaps in leadership today.
Another key element is the changing paradigm of what employees expect. The book compares and contrasts and "old contract" with a "new contract" and looks at the differences between what is expected by today's workers and how this has changed over time. (Page 98). While covered extensively in other works, the book here also examines again the reasons why recognition, so vital to employee satisfaction and engagement, is often so absent from corporate leadership skills. (Page 122).
Overall, this book is a great resource and tremendously valuable topic for anyone whose business or organizational success is dependent on the talent and performance of their people. There are enough charts, graphs, studies, bullet points and sources here to keep the most analytic person engaged throughout. A very comprehensive and well done collection of studies and information which provide a clear roadmap for improving the engagement and performance of your people while lowering attrition and disengagement. Highly recommended.
This book's value is derived from what Branham has to say about seven less obvious (if not "hidden") needs. He focuses on several "subtle signs" by which to identify them and then suggests how to take appropriate action before it is too late. For example, Reason #1: the job or workplace was not as expected. Whose fault is that? Could be those involved in the interview/hiring process who over-sold the job; could be the person hired. Perhaps blame must be shared by everyone directly involved. In any event, Branham explains HOW to recognize the warning signs of unmet expectations, identifies obstacles to meeting mutual expectations, and suggests eight specific "engagement practices" for matching mutual expectations. Branham also devotes an entire chapter to each of the other six reasons, followed by two appendices, each of which all by itself is well worth the cost of this book. Appendix A offers a "Summary Checklist of Employer-of-Choice Engagement Practices"; Appendix B offers "Guidelines and Considerations for Exit Interviewing/Surveying and Turnover Analysis."
Experts on employee relations agree with experts on customer relations that feeling appreciated is ranked among the three most important attributes, with compensation and cost ranked anywhere from 9th to 12th. If the research studies are reliable (and I believe they are), what they indicate is that the best employees and the best customers "leave" for the same "hidden reasons" which Branham examines in this book. If your organization is experiencing such losses, this is a book which should be read and then re-read ASAP. However, Branham's book is essentially worthless if appropriate actions are not then taken immediately. Perhaps policies and procedures need to be revised. Perhaps feedback surveys need to be conducted. Perhaps there are communication problems to be solved. Branham can help each reader to measure the nature and extent of what must be done. Then do it!
As a headhunter, I've listened for years to candidates tell me about their frustrations and concerns with their employers. In these conversations, it was clear that higher compensation wasn't always the key to attracting the better candidates. Branham seems to have nailed down the REAL reasons that people walk out those doors.
Interested in recruiter-proofing your organization? If so, author Branham has done all the hard work for you in this book. These hidden agendas, those that recruiters work so hard to uncover, are laid out for the reader-as is a plan to eliminate them forever, while keeping top performers happy and productive on the job.
I liked this book a great deal, and as a "junkie" for business books, I've read a lot of them. I can tell you that this one will have an impact on your company. It did on mine.
Employers who do care about their people are those most likely to read this, Leigh Branham's second book on retention (his first is Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business, 2001). In fact, they are the ones for whom the book was written: "Many managers will never get it... But many managers do get it, and do care... This book is for the managers, executives, business owners, and human resource professionals who care (p. 5)."
Unfortunately, those who care are those who least need to read this book. The employers who treat their employees as commodities--as a means to the end of profitability--are the most important audience for this writing and the least likely to read it. Branham sums up the thinking of such employers in the book's fifth chapter: "The bottom-line assumption... is that the needs of the organization supersede the needs of the individual... (p. 52)."
And yet employers who do care about their people demonstrate measurably greater financial rewards than their indifferent or malicious counterparts, according to a reliable and growing body of research. OK, but should employers care about their employees because it will make them more money? And just how will that work when the going gets tough? My experience with several top companies caught in industry downturns, mergers, or flat revenue growth is that those in charge tend to put the same value on people in tough times that they--in reality--placed on them when things were better. Even though management may ask for proof of positive return on human resource investment (HROI), upon the delivery of such information they do not become converts from their beliefs that employees are costs requiring reduction. Perhaps it occurs, but I have not yet seen coercive, scheming managers turned into ethical, just leaders by positive HROI. In another recent book on management, James Hoopes has written, "Profit is an admirable thing, but not as a motive for ethics. We admire ethical conduct not when it's easy and profitable but when it hurts (False Prophets, 2003)."
Leigh Branham has done unique and valuable work mining a rich base of data on exit interviews compiled by the Saratoga Institute, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Branham has also done good work in analyzing the data and drawing useful conclusions. The news is not necessarily surprising; however, Branham's writing is clear and his suggestions are practical.
If you are an employer, manager, or human resource professional who cares, then get this book and put as much of it into practice as possible in your organization.
Leigh provides a well-written book that contains a great deal of statistical support, but you are never overwhelmed by numbers. This book belongs on every managers desk and in the hand of every board of director or owner. There are no shortcuts to keeping good employees. It provides a convincing argument as to why good exit surveys are vital to a companies success.
A job well done!
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