'I'm outta here!' Why 2 million Americans quit every month (and 5 steps to turn the epidemic around)

Published: Monday, March 18 2013 5:00 p.m. MDT

While the percentage of overall turnover in business has remained relatively steady at approximately 1.69 percent per month over the past decade, the number of voluntary "quits" is continuing to grow.


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I recently discovered an alarming fact: Even in a climate of business uncertainty and an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the category “Quits.” While the percentage of overall turnover has remained relatively steady at approximately 1.69 percent per month over the past decade, the number of voluntary “quits” is continuing to grow.

A recent study by Accenture reports on the causes:

They don’t like their boss (31 percent)

vA lack of empowerment (31 percent)

Internal politics (35 percent)

Lack of recognition (43 percent)

A Business Insider survey of 225 executives reports 22 percent want to launch their own companies. Why are they willing to make the sacrifice and take the risk? They want to run an enterprise their way. Deep in their hearts, they know they will enjoy more satisfaction and fulfillment by establishing a healthier business culture.

Now let’s add a fifth reason of employee dissatisfaction. Author Melissa Llarena of Career Outcomes Matter reports that the biggest reason for “quits” is that employees no longer trust corporations.

Do you see what I’m seeing? Corporate employees are looking for a better working environment. Is this alarming? It should be to managers who need a talented team to accomplish corporate goals. The answer to employees saying, “I’m outta here!” is for management to thoughtfully establish an employee-focused culture. Please consider my recommendations:

1. Leaders, take care of your employees.

When your employees say to themselves and others, “Where’s the love?” you’ve got a problem. Do you know what they want to be engaged and happy? I suggest you sit down with them and ask. Generally, they will tell you: a) I want to feel respected; b) pay me what I’m worth, and when I exceed expectations, share the wealth; c) be considerate; d) let me fail, try and learn; and e) let me grow and develop my skills.

2. Leaders, empower your people.

Employees thrive when they are given a sense of ownership to accomplish their work with fewer approvals and checkpoints, and with a smaller degree of intervention and oversight. Company leadership and workers both succeed when employees are allowed to own and solve problems in an innovative way.

Corporate leadership can still achieve productivity and happily-engaged employees by offering more latitude in how employees accomplish goals. For example, must every employee’s workday start at 8 and end at 5? Could a working parent start their workday later or accomplish a portion of their workday from home? When a company can allow individuals to accomplish their goals in a more flexible way, productivity can increase, and satisfaction in the job can dramatically increase as well.

3. Leaders, eliminate the negative politics in your organization.

Managers have the power to abolish an individual’s or group’s counterculture comprised of unwanted agendas, attitudes and behaviors that pit individuals and cliques against other workers. Leaders need to know when bad politics are causing pain and frustration among the troops. Your job is to identify the issue and act boldly to declare it unacceptable. Stop it by confronting it. Stop it by telling the leaders of the pack to cease and desist. Tell them the behavior will end or they should look for another place to work. Your team has to know you are establishing a culture without disruptive politics and that this norm is non-negotiable.

4. Leaders, be trustworthy.

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