In the past few months, I’ve been observing the reasons why good employees decide to leave their companies. How do I define a good employee? The smart one, a fast learner, the problem solver, the major contributor, the game maker, the agent of changes, and of course, an excellent leader to their team. They may have so many flaws, mostly personality issues, yet most of them tend to have all of the good qualities I mention before. The good qualities in one package that makes them extremely hard to find.
Different with employees on average, I rarely find a top achiever leaves the company just because of stress, crazy workloads, fed up of bosses’ high demands, or just because of those nearly impossible projects. They have much more complex reasons to leave the company. Based on my personal observation, I’ve narrowed down those reasons into three top categories.
Lack of challenges
Most of the time, the good employees have more capability to deal with stress rather than dealing with boredom. They can’t stand repeating the exactly same task over and over again. They also set a very high standard for themselves. It’s not easy to make them feel satisfied with their own achievement. They’re very competitive even when there is no competition at stake. They hate the idea of being left behind their own families and friends.
That’s why when they find themselves stuck, not well developed, nothing new to learn, or when they get bored until 8 hours at work feels like forever, they will start to wonder whether it’s already time for them to bring themselves to a higher level. Until finally, finding a better opportunity out there has become a new challenge for them. For some of them, it’s like proving themselves that they still have the capability to achieve something better for their futures after going nowhere in their previous job for a while.
Lack of appreciations
The good employees have much lower tolerances of being unappreciated. They don’t do much positive thinking about the reason why their bosses made them feel that way. They know their values and they will never let anyone make them feel anything less. I know many great workers who are able to deal with their crazy workloads, who can survive the crazy deadlines, who can forgive their annoying bosses, but once they find themselves are not appreciated, they will start to ask themselves, “What the hell am I doing here?”
How do they define the lack of appreciations?
- When they find out ‘the average guys’, ‘the do nothing guys’, or ‘the do not understand anything guys’ are paid higher than them;
- When they hear their own bosses keep telling everyone about how great those ‘mediocre ones’ are but those bosses ‘forget’ to mention the same thing about them who have worked much harder than those bosses’ baby;
- When their bosses do not say anything about the great jobs they’ve done, but those bosses are over-reacted once they do just one mistake, especially if it’s only a very small one;
- When they are not well rewarded, especially if they do know that the company has a capability to give them rewards that they deserve.
Overloaded BUT underpaid
Based on my observation, most of top achievers are burdened with more workloads rather than the mediocre ones. Everytime there is a very difficult task, the boss will give it to them. Everytime there is a colleague fail to finish another difficult task, the boss will give it to them again. They’re actually okay with that; they love challenges, remember? BUT, it’s a completely different story if their increasing burdens are not in line with their income.
It’s funny how bosses always have many random reasons to not reward their best players properly. At the end of the day, the good employees will end up with a thought, “This company wants me to work super hard for free.”
Most of the time, being underpaid is not only about money for this type of employee, but also highly related to their self-satisfaction or maybe, it’s also about their own ego. They can’t live with the fact that their company ‘use’ them, ‘fool’ them, or any other bad thoughts which make them feel bad about themselves. Once again, they know their value and they know it for sure when they deserve better.