How to keep your best employees from walking out the door
Keeping good employees is imperative to any company’s success. Most employers find Veterans to be solid, reliable and loyal employees. Studies indicate that Veterans hired for positions in their preferred career field typically stay twice as long as their non-military counterparts, however, even the most valuable employee may explore other opportunities when dissatisfied with current conditions. Here are the most common reasons why Veteran employees quit their jobs, and ways you can improve Veteran retention.
- Management lacks leadership and people skills. Veterans have spent years working on leadership skills, teamwork and discipline during their time in the military. Micro managing by bosses who don’t listen to employee concerns is one of the issues most often cited by frustrated employees. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘drive-by’ managing shows too little interest in an employee’s work and can make them question their value to the company. The key is to find a happy medium between the two styles of leadership that keeps employees engaged without making them feel smothered.
- Actual duties do not match posted job duties. In some instances, a job described during the interview process does not reflect the actual work responsibilities once the employee is hired. While Veterans may be new to the civilian sector, they often have significant past experience and time on the job. Putting a Veteran in a position where their skills are underutilized or where they are overqualified can lead to an employee who does not ‘fit’ the position, and may soon begin looking for other opportunities.
- Improper job fit. When filling any job opening, finding the best-fit candidate is vital to ensuring long-term retention of the employee. Understanding the skills, knowledge, and training Veteran applicants bring to your organization ensures you aren’t missing out on the next great employee for your business. Improperly matching military skills to job openings can increase turnover, as Veterans will most likely look for additional opportunities where their skills are better aligned with the responsibilities of the job.
- Lack of recognition for job performance. Service members are accustomed to receiving recognition for job performance through periodic evaluations and acknowledgements from leadership. When great employees do fantastic work, recognizing their effort and success goes a long way in making them feel like a valued part of your team. Lack of recognition for job performance using formal or informal methods may cause Veteran employees to think the job is not a good fit for them.
- Too few growth opportunities. Veterans are accustomed to having defined opportunities for advancement, as military career paths are based on clearly stated qualifications and length of experience requirements. They are constantly striving to learn new skills and welcome opportunities to take on new duties to support the organization. Transitioning to a civilian position where there are few opportunities for professional growth can cause Veterans to seek positions with more opportunity for training or advancement.
- Not accommodating personal issues. Veterans, including wounded Veterans, may need flexibility to support personal activities. Transitioning out of the military comes with various appointments and paperwork that may require the individual to alter their schedule. If the employer is not understanding of their needs and/or does not provide methods to accommodate these instances, it could cause the Veteran employee to look elsewhere for employment.
- Lack of trust in leadership. Many Veterans have served in situations where trusting their superior officers was a vital part of their work environment. Veteran employees often want to feel that trust and sense of loyalty to their corporate leaders and management as well. Should leadership actions result in the loss of the employee’s trust in or loyalty to the company leadership team, Veteran employees may search for other job opportunities with companies that better align with their professional values.