3 Reasons Great People Leave and 3 Tips to Avoid it

Written by Certified Forum Facilitator David Lesser

Not only is it a challenge to find truly gifted individuals for your team, but once you do you have to try and keep them. As a team leader, it simply isn’t feasible to continuously repeat the hiring and training process. However, for many businesses, great people are difficult to keep. As a leadership coach, I’ve conducted countless exit interviews and have found similar answers repeated time and time again. Here are some of my discoveries behind why great people leave and some simple ways to avoid this from happening.

Not feeling challenged or engaged

While it’s common to believe that most employees leave over financial reasons, a common answer I found was that the individual didn’t feel challenged or engaged enough. It’s important that every member of your team has a fire for what they’re doing, and as a team leader, it’s your job to keep that fire going.

Solution: Create a motivator profile for each of your team members that you visit every three-to-six months. This profile should include the four things that switch them on (make them excited to show up for work) and turn them off (make them dread showing up for work). It should also include important information like the areas where they would like to see personal growth and how they envision the progression of their career.

Lifestyle changes

There’s an old saying that “man plans, and God laughs,” and the sentiment is never more true than when you’re attempting to manage a team. The fact is your team consists of human beings that lead full, diverse and changing lives outside of the office. If you can’t be flexible when it comes to factors like moves, weddings and children then someone else will.

Solution: Like your motivator profile, you should have an additional set of notes where you can keep track of your team members’ lifestyle changes. Not only will being aware of what’s happening in their lives strengthen your bond with them, but it will also help you make arrangements ahead of time to allow you to offer up more flexible solutions. This may mean offering up part-time work or even a larger salary.

The need to be mentored

You may be surprised to find how many members of your team admire you and want to learn from you. Not only is the sentiment flattering, but it can also be the reason a great team member leaves if such a need isn’t fulfilled.

Solution: Many leaders shy away from the mentorship role because they feel it will absorb too much of their time. This doesn’t have to be the case, in fact, there are a number of ways you could take on the mentorship role without spending too much time on it. Try reading the Numina blog on efficient mentorship or use the Numina app to effectively guide your team to the changes they want to make.

David Lesser has been an executive coach and confidante to senior leaders in a variety of fields for 20 years. In addition to his management, facilitation and coaching skills, Lesser has experience in marketing, real estate and corporate finance. He is the co-founder and current CEO of Numina, providing access to the deep, transformational leadership development experiences to senior leaders to scale depth and thriving teams. He has an MBA from London Business School, was CEO of a USD100 million London-based real estate and construction group, and executive director of a USD40 million worldwide not-for-profit. Lesser was born in London, England, U.K., and now resides in San Francisco, California, USA.

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