January 6, 2017

By: Ron Guest, Senior Partner  TwoGreySuits

Over the years many clients have called me upon the resignation of a key employee, or several key employees. They are frustrated and are looking for answers to prevent this. It causes pain, in some cases, a great deal of pain. Many managers have had that ‘sinking’ feeling when a key or top employee resigns. Some managers panic, some go into denial, (so what, no big deal) others try and down play it, some managers will even try to put a positive spin on it! All of these responses will not help other top employees from leaving – and they will.

Of course employees will come and go… expecting all employees to stay forever is not realistic. However, top performing employees are often difficult to replace at the same performance level. Losing top performers is a big loss. Many managers will say that nobody is irreplaceable – true, in a sense, but replacing a top performer with another top performer doesn’t happen very often, at least not from what I have seen. Turnover is expensive, very expensive! This includes the time invested in them, training received, lost company knowledge of systems and processes, loss of the good trust relationships developed, recruitment costs, vacancy costs, new training costs – the list goes on.  Companies are often to blame for unknowingly helping their top employees reach a resignation decision. If your top performers are saying good-bye and worse, if this is happening in waves, you’re probably at fault for one of these 5 things:

1. You don’t manage them properly

Very conclusive research now concludes that the manager-employee relationship is the single most important factor in employees deciding to stay or leave. Many Managers under-estimate how much people are driven by their emotions and feelings. Employees will not give their best if they don’t feel supported, inspired, encouraged, motivated and valued. Good managers know how to do this. This requires purposeful, regular, structured communications. Highly engaged employees are often very well managed. Proper management means providing the right training and tools to do their jobs.

2. You don’t pay them properly

This might be surprising to some, but if you’re not in tune with market pay rates, you may find out the hard way. (resignation) Many studies suggest pay is not the most important thing for employees deciding to stay or leave. While this may be true, it still is a strong and often supporting reason for key employees to decide to leave. Financial pressures in this world are a fact of life and everyone responds to this differently. (you can try and cut back, or maybe look for more pay) More research is suggesting, as many as a 65% of employees believe they are not being paid what they think they are worth. (the market based pay facts may not prove this out, but that is what people think, their perception is their reality)

3. They are overworked

If work is not properly balanced with the workloads of other similar level employees, people will feel slighted and like they are being treated unfairly. Work-life balance has to be more than just talked about – it has to be real. Over-worked employees often feel undervalued. Even if salary is competitive, many over-worked employees end up leaving their jobs for new employment where work-life balance is valued and practiced.

4. You don’t offer career development

Top performing employees often prefer a clear path for personal development and career progression. Having individual development plans is critical. Companies that have these are hiring the top performers from companies that don’t have these. Career development is a part of managing people properly. As a manager you have to know what drives people, what motivates them, what worries them, what fears they have and then you have to lead them in a career direction that they want to be moving in.

5. You are a micro-manager

Sad to say but micro-management is rampant in the workplace! Micro managing is the preferred style of managers who don’t know how manage people properly. These managers don’t have the required trust based relationships and have a need to be looking over their employee’s shoulders to ensure that employees are doing things their way. Most managers are not aware of the disastrous effects of micro-managing. (leading cause of resignations) People need to be empowered to do their own jobs, with clear instructions and necessary tools to do good work must be provided. There is little need to monitor them in every step to see if they are overcoming the challenges. Good employees are resourceful. They’ll find ways to get the job done. The good news… is that if you are a subscriber to TwoGreySuits, these 5 reasons can all be eliminated by utilizing the information, tools and processes, on the website. Anyone can become an excellent manager of people and lessen the chance of top performers resigning. Why wait?

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TwoGreySuits is a leading edge provider of on-line human resource management information, processes, tools and forms servicing the North American market. They have linked the HR practices associated with the key drivers of Employee Engagement in the form of an on-line training application for managers utilizing the vast amount of well-organized information on the website. They license their product to individual companies and Associations, Franchisors and Value-Added Resellers (VARS). Contact them at

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