21. Aug, 2015


People Leaving Their Jobs

Having worked in government, private, commercial and public sectors as HR director for two decades I know that people leaving their jobs for any number of reasons is very important but no longer a thing of the past. Often it is a better opportunity elsewhere or a fatter pay packet or greener pastures that lure people to jump fences. However, I found that even with the lure of more money people who are reasonably content with their work and their managers, seldom go out looking for other jobs. They develop a sense of deep loyalty to the firm and the people they work for but this loyalty can be destroyed if the environment and circumstances are not conducive to harmonious and challenging work place practices, procedures and principles.

Sometimes embarrassingly so, some organizations and companies have a higher turnover among their people than others and often it is better and more skilled people who leave. It becomes very costly and frustrating problem for the organization. When they wake up to face the problem it often is too late but after taking stock of the past procedures, policies and practices a lot of organizations have managed to avoid people leaving their jobs or convinced them to stay.

Obviously sometimes exiting people have been offered opportunities or salaries that are so extraordinary that organizations could not possibly have matched them. All they could do in any case is to let them go and wish them good luck. There are times when no amount of loyalty can save the exit but I had asked myself a few questions and answer them as honestly as I could to seek solutions to this growing problem of staff mobility.

Did I let my people know how important they were to me and to the company? Or did I more or less take them for granted? My initial induction programmes and all other training and development events were putting a lot of emphasis on the importance of workers to the work place and the work culture.

Did I give the people a chance to be proud of them at my work place? Did I pass along all the authority I possibly could – or keep them tied to my apron strings? I found that freedom to work and conduct their activities gave my workers a lot of pride, hence it helped them in the building up of their loyalty to the organization.

Did I give my people and get for them the needed credit and recognition they deserved from me and from others in the organization? Or did I tend to leave them in the shadows? I found that every effective worker needs and deserves recognition for their performance and this helps them as well as us to retain their services even if there is an offer of better opportunity from elsewhere. At least they will come to discuss their future in the organisation.

Did I do my best to make the jobs of the people challenging enough to instil a love and pride for working for the organisation? This responsibility of any manager is very difficult but vital. I usually initiated and asked my people to show initiative and develop positive attitude. I encouraged my people to continuously evaluate their skills in order to work well for themselves and the organisation and forge new relationships.

Did I continuously try to make their work as varied and interesting as possible? Did I show them the possibilities of a promising future? Or did I simply leave them in a rut and exploit their abilities to my own advantage?  Everyone wants a job that is stimulating and exciting rather than become bored and even fall into a rut.

Do not be too quick to absolve yourself from all blame. If you are responsible in any respect it is always smarter to realize it than to hide your head in the sand. I tried my best to be open and transparent in all my dealings and activities with my people.

Therefore, I firmly believed that unless I changed my attitude and actions I may lose more than just good people and may get on the verge of destroying my own organisation and my career as well. So, of course, I knew that the best time to think of these things was before I lost my good people rather than after.        

  -           Dr Ram Lakhan Prasad.