When The Best Employees Quit, Can You Handle The Truth?

George Anders, Contributor
3/18/2014 @ 9:00AM |71,916 views
When The Best Employees Quit, Can You Handle The Truth?
When prized employees leave a company, bosses almost always act surprised. From the comforts of the corner office, it’s easy to believe that you’re providing a great work environment and all the career-advancement opportunities that workers or managers might want. But maybe senior executives just can’t handle the truth.

Several new surveys by LinkedIn shed fascinating light on employees’ true reasons for pushing off. Take something as basic as people’s stated reasons for leaving. When LinkedIn surveyed 18,000 gainfully employed professionals and asked them to imagine what might convince them to change employers, the top factor cited was “Better compensation or benefits.” In the No. 2 spot was “Better work/life balance.” Ranking third was “Greater opportunity for advancement.”
While contented workers may daydream a little about getting a big raise or more time at home with the kids, LinkedIn finds that when employees actually bolt, they act because for different reasons. A separate survey of 7,530 job-switchers finds that the most powerful reason is “Greater opportunity for advancement.” In second place is a desire to find “Better leadership from senior management.” The hunt for greater pay is third.
Who might have some job hopping in his or her future? Just about everyone. According to LinkedIn research consultant Matt Grunewald, 85% of the workforce is either actively looking for a job, or at the very least is open to talking with a recruiter about what might be available. That’s up from 80% in a similar survey two years ago.
Companies may think that they offer excellent and well-recognized career tracks. When LinkedIn surveyed human-resources and talent-acquisition specialists last year, 69% of U.S. respondents said they believed their internal mobility programs were well-known among employees. But maybe that’s more wishful thinking than reality.
When LinkedIn asked employees in its exit survey if they knew of such internal mobility programs, only 25% of U.S. respondents said yes. Figures for respndents in India and Britain were almost identical. Awareness was slightly higher in Australia, yet even lower in Canada.
The upshot: Employees who leave a company voluntarily generally do so because they’ve formed a very different perception of that employer from what the official party line might be. It takes a brave executive, in such situations, to dig deeper and find out what part of the company’s own story isn’t ringing true. More often, executives prefer to shrug off such exits, or to pretend they never happened.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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