Co-lateral Damage – A Couple of Possible Reasons Why Good Employees Le

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Co-lateral Damage – A Couple of Possible Reasons Why Good Employees Leave:

Co-lateral Damage – A Couple of Possible Reasons Why Good Employees Leave


Losing a high-performing employee is a real problem for any employer – especially in small businesses or when the employee has specialist skills or broad and deep corporate knowledge. Most employers invest a lot of time, thought and effort in finding a competent employee with the right skills, knowledge and experience, the right attitude and then they pay them a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Even against this type of scenario, sometimes, and often apparently out of the blue, great employees let you know that they are leaving.


When this happens, it can be the beginning of a tough time for the business. The window between notification and departure is often short, and in that time, it can be hard to keep on with business as usual while trying to understand where things are up to with the work program of the departing employee. And in amongst all of this, decisions have to be made about how and when (and maybe even if) recruitment can start for a replacement. In amongst all of this transitional activity, its important for an employer to try to get a clear picture on why the good person is leaving. Honest feedback from them having made and communicated the decision to go can provide insights for a business that senior managers sometimes just can’t see, and that can help retention of good people into the future.


While some employees quit their job or switch for reasonable like being offered a better package, better career progression pathways, less travel etc, for others the decision is driven by reasons that are often largely in the control of the employer to manage.

‘Taken for granted’ – load up the good performer:

‘Taken for granted’ – load up the good performer Over time, nothing tends to negatively impact on the motivation of a consistently good performer than being loaded up by another people’s work, and that this becomes ‘normal’. Good people will usually willingly rise to help get through a surge in workload, but if this doesn’t return to close to ‘normal’ in the short term, they will begin to resent it and then potentially begin to look elsewhere.

Recognition is a powerful retention tool – when used right. :

Recognition is a powerful retention tool – when used right. Often hardworking employees decide to leave when they feel they aren’t being heard or valued. It’s natural for high performers to expect timely, meaningful and honest praise and recognition – and for those not pulling their weight to have their shortcomings identified and given an opportunity to improve. When good performers don’t regularly get meaningful recognition when they go ‘over and above’ at work, this can be a trigger for them to think about and/or act on leaving. As a manager, if you happen to notice a high performer not giving their usual discretionary effort at times of need, it’s time to have a talk with them before it might be too late.

Meaningful Work Purpose – Understanding ‘Why’ and Being Able to Contribute at Work:

Meaningful Work Purpose – Understanding ‘Why’ and Being Able to Contribute at Work People tend to work best when there is a strong alignment with, and ongoing visibility of, the fundamental purpose of the work done by each employee and their contribution to it. When the meaning of work gets diminished or lost for high performing people, this can impact on their view of work and its importance to them. When this fundamental ‘reason for being’ is challenged or diminished, this can be a trigger for leaving.

To Sum Up:

To Sum Up These are examples of things to look out for with key, high performing employees that might provide some signals to head off possible departures. This type of thinking forms some of the key inputs to a human resource strategy for a business to help attract, sustain and retain your top talent.

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