What Do You Do About Employees Who Quit But Forget to Tell You?

At a recent workshop led by my Insight team, a participant made a very insightful comment about “employees who quit but forgot to tell you.”

I’m sure we can all think of employees like this in our organization. They are at their position in body, but certainly not in spirit. Worse yet, they are earning 100 percent of their pay and benefits, but at best, giving you 50 percent effort in return (and often far less).

Recent Hay Group research on employee engagement reported in the Business News Daily shows this is only going to worsen in coming months.

“Employee restlessness is rising, according to new data from Hay Group, a global consulting firm. Last year, nearly two in five (38 percent) employees planned to leave their organization within the next five years, compared with 30 percent in 2009. In large measure, that restlessness stems from a direct result of lack of engagement, the study found.

“‘U.S. companies have experienced lower turnover rates over the past few years, largely because of the weak labor market associated with the economic downturn,’ said Mark Royal, senior principal at Hay Group Insight. ‘We’re in the eye of a turnover hurricane that has lulled many companies into complacency. In the meantime, employee frustration is rising. Organizations that fail to identify and act on issues affecting employee commitment during this break in the storm are going to find employees exiting in increasing numbers as other opportunities become more plentiful.’”

More recognition = less turnover

In fact, this is in parallel with a key finding in our own Spring 2012 Workforce Mood Tracker Report:

“Search for greener pastures of recognition fuels employee turnover. Employees are more likely to consider leaving a job for a company that recognizes their employees. In fact, most of them have done just that…

“The good news is employees with adequate recognition are less likely to abandon the company. Of those who have been recognized in the past three months, only 23 percent are considering a job change. That is versus 51 percent likelihood of jumping ship from those who have never been recognized. The bottom line: recognized employees are far more inclined to stick around.”

The solution is quite clear. Appreciate your employees for their efforts and behaviors to be sure they’re focused on the task at hand, not daydreaming about quitting and starting anew somewhere else.

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Do you have employees who “quit and forgot to tell you?”

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.


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