It’s No Secret: Here’s Why Organizations Lose Their Best People

Businesswoman Awkwardly Bending over Yellow Counter

I’ve written previously concerning why people and organizations struggle to change. When we miss opportunities to do so — we fail to unlock an enormous amount of potential.

Organizations also stand to lose talent along the way.

There is one enduring theme that must be acknowledged and added to the conversation. Organizations are made up of human beings. As human beings, we often struggle to let go of old frameworks. Companies dealing with persistent people problems such as low engagement, depleted morale or rising turnover — also struggle to make progress — and there is a clear reason why this is the case.

Let me elaborate.

If there is a single, worrisome story that I observe it is the following:

Company discovers great thing. Company engages with great thing. Company begins to rest on its laurels concerning great thing. Company neglects great thing. Company eventually loses great thing. Company begins to decline.

Sadly we are not talking about customers or products — this story is about people. (Please know that I do not view people as “things”.)

We need to grasp that lamenting declining people-centric metrics will not solve people-centric problems. Identifying sub-groups of contributors in the gravest danger of jumping ship — is not the answer. Quantifying the high cost of turnover, is not the answer. (See a great discussion addressing employee engagement here.)

The answer lies in action. The advice is simple.

Invest in people.

Invest in their experiences (from on-boarding to departure).

Invest in their aspirations.

Invest in open conversations.

Invest in their development.

Invest in their managers.

Invest in their observations.

Invest in their ideas.

Invest in their concerns.

Invest in their successes.

In many cases, the most powerful solution is taking that first step.

Start now. Start small. I encourage you do so.

Has your organization recently taken that first (or second) step? Please share your strategies in comments.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial & Organizational Psychologist. A charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program, her posts on workplace topics have appeared at The Huffington Post, US News & World Report and The World Economic Forum

14 thoughts on “It’s No Secret: Here’s Why Organizations Lose Their Best People

  1. I’ve seen this time and again…the better the employee the more they are taken advantage of. They are given tougher assignments, shorter deadlines, more work, greater responsibilities, and the list goes on. And that’s ok when the employee benefits equally relative to their contribution but usually they end up giving a lot more than they get back, it becomes the “new normal” and they are expected to always over-perform their peers and eventually they get fed up and move in.


  2. That’s why I left my last company. In little over year since I left there has been a major loss of talented people. Loved alot of people I worked with. But the decisions they have made in past two years have had a major affect on employee moral. Top down management that doesn’t take employees into account is short sighted and destructive to the whole company culture. What’s sad is they really did strive to take care of there employees on so many levels.


  3. Good article !

    In India, the management is too biased and act to their whim and fancy, instead of applying metric and matrix edge to evaluate and provide justifiable decision. This exploitation ruins dependants and specially career aspirations of employee’s children. While wellness is far away, there is tremendous violation of human rights at ground level with the middle and lower income people. It’s Capitalists/Socialist/ Facist/Racist vis-a-vis Vs. Empathy/Social Democrats.


  4. Really appreciate your sharing !
    My previous company is very much relevant in “company neglected great things” , I foresee the future is too not great where I wanted, so I took a big step out to start my business plan & I’m grateful today 3 yrs later I own my life! I wish everyone would be clear & brave to step up to what they desire in life ! Thank you 😊


  5. I loved this article! Sadly it seems true and in this day and age, there seems to be no loyalty.
    I love my job, my company and I am adamant about making sure that I give every effort, to assist the customer, on the first contact, make sure the issue is addressed and resolved (if possible).
    It seems that every company is using the “customer centric” phrase, but only the true “squeaky wheels” get results.
    There is no feeling, at the end of the day, like knowing you made a positive impact, in almost every contact. Then the next day you are slammed with negative results (or suggestive mentions, on how the contact could’ve been better, more suggestive or compliant)! Then you are complimented or receive a letter of thanks,from the contact.
    Talk about whiplash!


  6. So simply stated and well articulated. Agree Marla!! The core asset of any organization that should “appreciate” and not “depreciate” is talent!! And for that every one of us is responsible from bottom to top .


  7. I really wish upper management at my place of employment would listen to this advice. We’re currently experiencing a mass exodus… and, yes, most of us are actively looking to find employment elsewhere.


  8. About time! Absolutely! Unfortunately, it has taken till the 21st Century to realise this and make it known, how much longer will it be till business can circulate the systems around supporting such proposals.


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