A friend posted this on Facebook recently: “People don’t leave because things are hard. They leave because it’s no longer worth it.”
I tried unsuccessfully for three or four seconds to track down the source, but it seemed to be anonymous. Most of the places I found it were using it as relationship advice, but the first thing I thought of was leadership and employee turnover.
It’s not hard work or tough situations that causes good people to quit. It’s rare that people find easy, simple work satisfying or fulfilling. Think back to the times when you were most satisfied and fulfilled at work. Chances are you had recently earned a hard fought success, pressed hard, stretched your abilities, and just generally kicked booty. Think back to the times when you were just coasting along – how satisfied were you? People don’t leave because work is tough. People leave because the upsides don’t balance the downsides.
They leave because of fire drills, knee jerk reactions, lack of appreciation (or even acknowledgement), thankless efforts, frustrating co-workers, stifling bureaucracy, arbitrary decisions, favoritism, patronizing attitudes, harassment, and even apathy. When people leave because of “more money” it is often not about the money. The extra dollars are nice, but what they’re really saying is, “I don’t get rewarded enough to put up with this job (and/or my manager). This new job looks like it won’t have these headaches and, even if it does, I’ll at least be paid more to deal with it.”
If you’re experiencing unwanted turnover, the question to be asking is: “What would make it worth it for people to stay?”