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Senior Leaders Must Be Active in Employee Retention

Employees want training opportunities in the workplace.

CFOs need to be more aware of how they are treating their lower-level staff members because C-suite members may be the real reason that top talent is leaving their company. It has long been believed that employees decide to change jobs due to a disdain for their direct manager, but a recent survey conducted by Leigh Branham, founder of Keeping the People, revealed senior leaders could play a larger role in staff dissatisfaction than originally conceived.

Seniors Leaders Influence Employee Retention
According to the research, out of 39 possible reasons for leaving, 26 percent of respondents said during a post-exit survey with a third party that five of the reasons for leaving were influenced by CFOs, CEOs and CIOs. These potential issues include a failure to trust senior leaders, a lack of focus on quality, not enough honesty/integrity/ethics used in the workplace, uncertainty about the future of the company and a culture that is unhealthy/undesirable. 

"Most people are more likely to describe the real reason they left when the exit survey is administered by a third party than by their own employer, because they know the information is anonymous and they won't be burning a bridge," said Branham, who also authored The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave.

Top-level Executives Must Focus on Employee Retention
While some employees have said they have left their companies entirely due to the highest ranking officials at their company, others say it is a combination of their senior leaders and direct managers who are driving them away from the business. Sixty-one lack of appreciation in their positions, fewer chances for training and development, a lack of encouragement of new ideas, unfairness when it comes to pay practices, too much work and the inability to be flexible are direct problems staff members have with both their managers and top-level executives.

"This data should be a wake-up call to senior leaders, especially those who tend to put the onus for employee retention and engagement solely on the direct manager," said Branham. "Undeniably, people do leave jobs because of poor direct managers, but there tend to be many more poor managers in companies that have poor and uncaring senior leadership."

Employees Will Leave for a Number of Reasons
The decisions to leave a company will often be connected to something that has been building up inside an employee for months or even years. Below is a list provided by Forbes that spells out potential issues that will cause valued staff members to want to leave their jobs.

  • Employees weren't able to voice their opinion: The workforce will often be more engaged when they know their bosses value their insights. If they don't feel appreciated in their roles, they will be tempted to leave the company.
  • Leaders aren't guiding the firm to success: It is often easy for staff members to see when their top leaders are not taking their company down the right path. When these instances occur, it makes it easier for employees to want to look for other opportunities for employment.
  • Staff aren't given more responsibility: Top talent want to be trusted in their roles and feel that they are a key cog in what the company is trying to do. Senior leaders can quickly discourage their highly-skilled employees when they aren't given any extra responsibilities.

These are just a few of many issues that employees can have at their current jobs. It's important for CEOs, CFOs and CIOs to avoid these problems to make their company a place people will want to work for years to come.