5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Organizations

pexels-photo-1563355.jpegEvery organization takes pride in having an employee who is passionate, disciplined, industrious and keen on going the extra mile. Most organizations would want to keep such an employee for life because their performance at work is guaranteed. It often comes as a surprise when one of your best employees decides to leave the organization. While most bosses will not admit it, a notice from such an employee can be devastating news. It is common for managers to blame everything and everyone under the sun whenever a good employee leaves. A manager who is keen on learning from such an experience will take time to critically examine the reasons why his or her best employee is leaving.

If your organization is struggling to retain its best employees, here are some of the most common reasons why this might be the case:

Lack of work-rest balance

We call it work-rest balance because referring to it as work-life balance would be an indication that work is not part of life. In a quest to maintain healthy bottom lines, some organizations push their employees out of their jobs. They demand more than is humanly possible within unrealistic timelines. Even the best employees struggle to keep up with the workload as the managers demand more and more from them. A job that is supposed to be done from 8am -5pm with breaks for lunch and tea ends up becoming a twelve-hour job with no breaks. The employees barely have time to eat, interact as normal human beings or even take breaks that would enable them to acquire a new perspective on the tasks that they are handling. The overall effect of this becomes visible in their physical, social and mental well-being. An organization that treats its employees as mere “resources” without taking their well-being into account will end up losing its best employees.

Overworking employees is counterproductive. A research study carried out by Stanford University showed that the productivity of an employee decreases sharply as the working hours per week exceed 50 hours. It is important for all the leaders in an organization to create a realistic workflow that will help the organization meet its goals while ensuring that the workers are not overworked. It is equally important for line managers to learn how to respect the personal boundaries of the employees they work with. An employee does not have to be on call on weekends, holidays and after working hours unless it is utterly necessary. Organizations seeking to maintain the productivity of their employees should insist on creating a culture in which working late is not considered an indicator of good performance. This will ensure that all employees manage the tasks for the day effectively hence maintaining a healthy work-rest balance.

Failure to Tailor the Talent to the Tasks

going.pngSome of the most talented employees in organizations end up using only 10% of their potential because their talent has not been matched to their jobs. As a result of this, the best employees gradually become discontented and begin to seek other avenues where they will realize their full potential. The mismatch between an employee’s tasks and talent happens as a result of “straight line” mentality. This mentality believes that an employee who is employed in one department should stay in that department. It fails to have a comprehensive view of what the employee is good at and finding ways of providing an opportunity to make use an employee’s talent.

Lies, Lies, Lies

There are organizations that have perfected the art of dangling carrots in front of their employees. For instance, employees can be told by their manager that they will receive a bonus once a certain project has been completed or if they meet their sales target. Employees strive to attain the goal but once they do, the goal post is shifted. Then, the management of the organization provides a long, winding explanation as to why it cannot keep its promise. There are organizations that give their employees contracts that enumerate several benefits but once the employees start working for the organization, the benefits mysteriously fail to show up. Whenever an employee tries to find out why he or she is not getting the benefits as promised, the explanation that is provided is barely sufficient. An organization that lies to its employees loses credibility among its employees. This eventually demotivates the best talent and makes them leave the organization.

Unaddressed Concerns

Addressing the concerns raised by employees is an essential aspect of ensuring that the employees can trust their organization to look out for their best interests. In some organizations, leaders have created a culture in which they remain detached and unapproachable. Issues such as discrimination, unethical practices and sexual harassment can remain unaddressed in such an environment. This leads to widespread fear among the employees. Eventually, leaving the organization becomes the best option.

Poor Pay and Benefits

employee leavingAn organization does not have to offer an employee a bucket load of money in order to retain the employee. An organization just needs to work towards offering fair compensation in line with market rates for a particular type of job. Additional benefits such as flexible working hours for young mothers help in retaining an organization’s top talent. An organization that does not pay its employees on time or fails to pay after several promises is setting itself up for failure because it will eventually suffer from talent drain. It may be easy for an organization to get away with failing to compensate its employees as expected but in the long run, it ruins the organization’s reputation and has an effect on its bottom line. Employees need to know that their financial well-being is not secondary to the company’s profit. They need to see the results of their productive days become tangible benefits.

Do you need help with identifying and retaining talent in your organization? Talk to us at Crystal Recruitment, a leading talent solutions provider in Kenya.

Putting Her in Her Place: Making the Workplace work for Working Mothers

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Ann* did not understand what her boss meant when she was warned of “wavering” commitment during the last trimester of her pregnancy. She had been an award-winning salesperson for the five years she had worked for the organization.  That month had been hard for most enterprises because of a global financial crisis. Her entire team had had a difficult time. Ann was not the only one who was struggling with clients who were barely able to keep afloat. Ann did not understand why she was the only one who got a verbal warning for her performance. When she went for her maternity leave, she had to attend meetings over pending matters in spite handing over prior to her maternity leave.

Ann’s case is just an example of the subtle microaggressions that working mothers have to put up with in Kenya. With an increasing number of women joining the workforce in Kenya, one would expect that working mothers would have a supportive working environment regardless of the industry they work in. The Employment Act of 2007 recognizes that a working mother is entitled to 90 calendar days as maternity leave. A female employee should not be asked to forfeit her annual leave in lieu of maternity leave because the Act has clear provisions for annual leave for all employees. As compared to Tanzania which only has provisions for an 84- day maternity leave if an employee has been working for an organization for at least six months, the provisions for maternity leave in Kenya apply to all mothers who have a valid employment contract in spite of the duration they have worked for an organization.

Organizations in Kenya have strived to provide supportive working environments for mothers but there are gaps that have not been fully addressed. For instance, mothers who have children with special needs or premature babies are not catered for by the provisions for maternity leave. A study carried out in 2016 by Orion Foundation showed that 91% of the caregivers of children with cerebral palsy are mothers. These mothers have to consider quitting their jobs or take on fewer responsibilities at work in order to continue taking care of their children. Similarly, mothers of premature babies often find themselves taking unpaid leave in order to continue catering for their children’s needs. The “motherhood penalty” is particularly severe for these mothers because they miss out on opportunities for career advancement or risk losing their jobs. Some of the mothers we spoke to while researching this article spoke of the difficulty of getting their bosses to give them time off to attend to a sick child. In some cases, mothers reported that they ended up being late for appointments because of the fear that has been instilled by their bosses.

The Health Bill of 2015 which was sponsored by MP Rachel Nyamai requires employers to set up nursing stations in workplaces to enable lactating mothers to express milk and store it. The implementation of the bill by organizations in the country has been slow but some progress is being made. Some of the companies that have provisions for lactating mothers as outlined in the bill include: Oserian Farm, Safaricom, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Red Cross, Intrahealth International, PWC, Oxygene MCL, CIC Group, Liberty Life Assurance, Heritage Insurance Company, Webtribe Lt/Jambo Pay, DPO Group, Eka Hotel, Airtel Kenya and Nestle Foods, to mention but a few. Over the years, there has been an improvement in the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children for six months as recommended by the World Health Organization. The National Demographic Health Survey carried out in 2015 indicated that 61% of mothers in Kenya breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. In Eastern and Southern Africa region, it is estimated that 51% of women exclusively breastfeed.  To sustain this progress, organizations who will ultimately rely on the young ones as their workforce in the future should be supportive of nursing mothers once they return to work after maternity leave.

Most working women struggle to exclusively breastfeed their children after going back to work due to lack of lactating facilities and the demands of their jobs. For this reason, there has been a proposal to increase maternity leave to 6 months, but this has not augured well with the Federation of Kenya Employers which argues that this would be counterproductive.  This provision would particularly benefit mothers who have premature babies. Premature babies have to be hospitalized for longer periods as compared to babies born at full term. By the time the mother leaves the hospital, she has very days of her maternity leave left. Most mothers end up being stressed as they try and keep up with the delicate demands of their young ones. This is compounded by the fact that most organizations do not offer flexible working arrangements.

Below are some of the steps organizations can take to make the workplace a better place for working mothers:

Identify and confront biases towards working mothers

The biases towards working mothers can be subtle but they are alive and well. It is a well-known fact that children need their mothers often but this can easily be ignored at expense of the organization’s bottom-line. These biases are supported by outdated management principles that focus on one aspect of an employee’s life at the expense of all other important aspects. An organization seeking to promote work-life balance must confront its biases towards working mothers and begin to address them

Make room for flexible work arrangements

Technology has made it possible for meetings to held using virtual platforms by people in different continents. A mother who needs to attend a sales meeting can make a phone call and conclude the sale. The changing nature of work should be embraced by all organizations for the benefit of all employees, particularly working mothers.

Support and promote working mothers

A woman does not become less competent because she is a mother. On the contrary, being a parent equips one with skills that are useful in the workplace such as empathy, ability to handle tense situations and patience.  If a promotion opens up within the organization, working mothers should have an equal opportunity for promotion.

Are you a working mother looking for a better company/organization that supports the careers of working mothers? Then do reach out to us as Crystal Recruitment Ltd is a leading recruitment agency in Kenya and we do work with amazing clients who support working mothers.