They’re Not Running From Their Career, They’re Running From You

Recruiting and retention are top-of-mind for all of our clients, and the conversation usually begins with, “We need to update our About Us page on the website ASAP!”

Listening to a Simon Sinek video this morning, he said something related to this that resonated specifically with the retention side of that equation. Paraphrasing what he shared, “They’re not leaving their career. They’re leaving you.”

This mirrored a conversation we had with a client a few months ago, a commercial electrician in the southern U.S. In their market, with massive new distribution hubs and tech centers being built every day, the competition for talented and trained electricians is fierce. In this location, there are a handful of well-known and respected commercial contractors, and all of them are working to attract talent in their direction. With so much work to do and so few qualified electricians, getting talent in the door is only the beginning. Retention is just as important.

As Sinek shared, the reality is this. When a talented and trained electrician leaves to go somewhere else, they’re likely not taking off to become a baker or do something in healthcare. They certainly could, but odds are, they will stay in the lane they’re in. They’re leaving for another reason… and it might be your culture.

It can be easy to shift the blame and say they’re moving jobs for the money. In some cases, that might be true. In dealing with inflation, money can be a motivator. That said, compensation is often not the only “why” behind a career move.

Do a quick search online around culture vs. compensation, and you’ll be greeted by page after page of articles citing surveys that all say the same thing. Compensation and benefits do matter… but culture matters more. Workplace satisfaction has moved beyond paychecks, and today, our people want fair pay and a healthy culture.

They want both, not one or the other.

And, if you think you can pay them enough to deal with your unhealthy culture, you’re wrong.

As leaders, it’s up to us to create those healthy cultures. We’re charged with making space for personal growth, promoting environments where we can trust one another, and keeping “open communication” truly open. We need to bring our teams clear mission, vision, and values – and then live those out together so they’re more than words on a wall. Our long-term success and team retention depend on our ability to create great cultures where people love to come to work, and with the right guidance and mindset, it is possible.

When it comes to coaching around culture, we’re connected to some of the best resources in North America. If it’s an area where you feel like you’re lacking or your culture is killing your recruiting and retention, reach out, and we’ll connect you to some resources that will help you transform your culture and change your business. Doing good work for good people who are doing good things, we’ve met a few all-stars along the way. We’d love to make an intro!

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