WHAT WILL MOTIVATE AN EMPLOYEE…TO QUIT

In the first few years that I’ve managed people, I automatically blame myself for being such a bad employer or a manager each time an employee tenders a resignation with a reason stated as – “personal”, I can’t stop but think that I might have done something that did not please them. But this changed when I studied Organizational Behavior.  

In the study of Organizational Behavior, I learned concepts of motivation that explain why employees arrive at a decision to leave the company.  My take home from this course is the fact that I no longer worry that everything is about me, my management style, or the organization that I manage.  Most of the time, resignation is a decision that employees voluntarily make due to the following reasons:

  1. Low Pay

“Low Pay” is, of course, relative.  It will always depend on the needs and wants of a person.  So a person who is receiving, say, a hundred thousand pesos (Philippine currency) each month might still leave his current employment if he sees that staying is not worth his time.

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, one of the popular theories of motivation, we will realize that almost all of us start with wanting to have a higher pay in order for us to afford the necessities and even our wants in life.

If you are an employer, your employees probably need a house, a car, a bigger apartment for his/her growing family, a more expensive school where he/she thinks his/her children can have quality education.  If your company’s offer is not enough to meet those needs, there is a bigger possibility that you will lose him/her.

If you are a start-up company and could not as yet afford to compete with the market rate, it is advised that you communicate to your employees why they are receiving what they are currently getting.  It won’t hurt to be honest with them, this in fact will promote an open communication and build trust between you and your employees. A problem will however surely arise if you give a salary below the minimum required by law or you overwork your employees and do not pay overtime pay. In the Philippines, there are exceptions to giving the minimum wage but you need to prove that you are exempted from paying the minimum rate. (Try to contact your business consultant regarding this) Likewise, there are exceptions to paying the overtime pay (this will be discussed in another topic).

     2.  No job security

For some employees, if they are already contented with their current pay, they now move to ensuring their job security. There is nothing more worrying than being in a job you like but the latter is obviously unstable. Some of the reasons that trigger stress connected to job security are the fact that an employee knows that the company is not financially stable, frequent delays in pay, and the contractual nature of the job.

An employee who loves his job but is constantly bugged by the idea of losing it anytime, might consider leaving for another company that would satisfy this need.

      3.  Unsafe/unhealthy working conditions

If an employee is threatened with dangers of harassment (sexual or otherwise)/bullying or if going to and from the work place will expose them to life and death situations prepare to have high attrition rate.

Harassment or bullying, however, can easily be avoided by a strong company policy against it.  If you are an employer, immediately act on complaints to show your employees that the same is not tolerated.  Also, an employee will usually stay no matter how bad the situation is if he/she finds that she belongs to a team or has a support group.  But if they feel alone and unsafe, they’ll be saying goodbye anytime soon.

With regard to safety of coming to and from work, one solution is to provide a shuttle for the employees or offer transportation allowance enough for them to use to pay for taxi fare.  This usually applies to big companies.  This is not mandatory but needs to be done if an organization wants to keep its employees.


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     4. Employees don’t trust their employers

Some employees commit to a job and later on realize that the values system in their workplace is not aligned with theirs.  This usually happens in the selling industry where organizations or managers actively promote committing bribery just so they can close the sale or win a bidding. For people who love sales but could not tolerate the idea of fraudulent transactions, they usually give up and look for another employment.

     5. No sense of fulfillment 

Money is not always the reason why people do what they do.  There are people who engage themselves in an activity or employment to fulfill a higher need, a sense of fulfillment. They feel useful when they do a particular thing or they are energized by the fact that their work has social relevance.  There are employees who have needs for continuous development and growth. Now, if they no longer get this from their organization, they are more likely to resign anytime.

To resolve resignation due to this reason, it is suggested that the management study the organization and look for opportunities where their employees are able to fulfill this need. Say, open a cross training program that would allow people to work in other departments. This will break the monotonous life of a high achiever, plus, if you are the employer, you’ll get a bigger chance to keep them.

      6. Bad Boss

I earlier said that bosses are not always the reason employees leave. But let’s face it, there is a big factor that employees quit because of how a manager runs the company or more than that, how he treats his subordinates.

When I was working for a BPO, there was not a day that my manager did not shout at us for not closing a sale or for not hitting whatever target that needed to be met.  I, however, believe that one does not need to literally roar to motivate an employee.

In another scenario, I witnessed a manager scolding a cashier while the latter was manning the cash register.  If I were the cashier, I would have wished my self dead in that situation.  I will not be surprised if that employee tendered her resignation that very day.

There is always a nice way of giving feedback.  Sometimes, the saying is true that “it is not what you say, but how you say it.”

     Now, if you are a manager, you can sleep at night thinking that it is not always your fault.  Unless, you are what we referred to as a “bad boss.”

     After the poll, readers added the following as some of the reasons why they quit:

7. Being overworked (connected with no. 1);

8. No opportunity for promotion (connected with no.5).

Photo Credit: http://wp.jsstatic.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2014/09/679.jpg

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