What is the Real Reason People Quit?

You have probably heard the saying, “people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”  SHRM partnered with Harvard Business Review to do a survey at Facebook to find out if that statement is accurate.    The results of the survey indicate when people wanted to keep people from leaving, the people left anyway, it was not because of their manager.

While it’s true that people are more likely to quit when they have horrible bosses, not all people leave because of their boss.  The survey showed most people left employment because of the work.  They left when their job wasn’t enjoyable, they weren’t growing in their careers and their strengths weren’t being used.

So, while the direct answer was the people did not quit a manager, they quit a job; the manager is responsible for creating an enjoyable workplace.

If you want to keep your people, especially your stars, pay more attention to how their work is designed.  Create the job around the person’s strengths and talents.   Enable people to do work they enjoy, play to the person’s strengths and carve a path for career development which accommodates personal priorities.

Talk with your team members; it is the best way to learn their strengths, talents, and goals.

www.shrm.org  “The Real Reason People Quit Their Jobs” January 23, 2018, Lori Goler, Janelle Gale, Brnn Harrington and Adam Grant

Givers and Takers by Nick Lewis

Not too long ago, I read a book called Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant. The book uses several thought-provoking stories to propose that there are three types of people in the workplace: givers, matchers, and takers.

Takers are people who consistently put their needs before others by taking more than they give to others, and are generally the most self-oriented.

Matchers are those who tend to give and take proportionally. They tend to reciprocate equally with others based on how they are treated.

Givers are the people that give more than they take, and are primarily others-oriented.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the book cites research suggesting that many successful people are givers and that being a giver is usually a sound strategy for success. Most people appreciate a person that is a giver, and many times they will want to give back to that person if the opportunity arises. Because of this, givers often create a network of support and valuable connections with others that they have helped in the past.

One key difference between givers and takers is that givers do not think of personal and work relationships as zero-sum games, but instead as positive sum games where groups can all benefit. Givers are not afraid to share the credit of successes, and are willing to help out coworkers and others in the organization even when they may not gain personally from their effort.

Givers also are adept at seeing issues from different perspectives, which helps them to be perceived as agreeable and understanding in group situations. By contributing help wherever they can (instead of only when it would benefit them and their specific responsibilities), they can establish a norm of giving and information sharing within their team.

Early on in a new year can be a great time to evaluate how you operate at work and reflect on any changes you would want to make. Consider looking for opportunities to act as a giver in the workplace. It will likely benefit your team, and may very well lead to future success for yourself.

Written by Nick Lewis


Becoming a Transformational Leader

If you notice that employees are putting in minimal effort, it’s often due to the fact the leaders are doing the same.  Leaders who are transformational have to enable employees to flourish.

Be crystal clear about what your purpose is, it will shape everything else you do.  Be sure to have time to think strategically, this will allow you to operate tactically.

Use your coach or mentor to help you think positively.  Be aware of the gap between your intent and impact on employees.  Ask yourself, how is my leadership helping or hindering the performance of the department?

Tell your customers and employees exactly what they can expect from you.  This will remove any ambiguity and uncertainty.  It will also allow people to say “yes” to your requests faster and easier.

Stop making priorities until you have identified what your purpose is.

You achieve transformational results when you surround yourself with people who are tenacious and don’t give up easily.

Look for advice rather than feedback.  Asking for advice from someone gives that person a heightened sense of engagement.

www.shrm.org “How to Be a Transformational Leader” January 17, 2018, Dori Meinert

Employee Recognition Matters By Glenda Strickland

What drives you to wake up every morning, bear traffic, sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, sit through more traffic to go home just to wake up and do the same thing all over again tomorrow? Maybe it is the love of your job, the paycheck you receive or the dire need for routine responsibilities on a daily basis. While most people have differing reasons the most likely answer to this question is, they feel appreciated for the work they do and the contributions and loyalty to their employer whether it be from a CEO, manager or coworker.

According to Donald O. Clifton, author of “How Full Is Your Bucket?” employee recognition is the driving force behind most employee’s willingness to stay at a company. It increases productivity and engagement among colleagues and it enforces better customer service.

One way to create a culture of praise and appreciation is to develop day to day recognition for employees. Mike Byam, Managing Partner of Terryberry Company details in his book, “The Wow! Workplace” a few general themes that help to establish this type of atmosphere. These include [excerpted from “The Wow! Workplace”]:

  • Managers should train themselves to become praise professionals. Building a productive working relationship requires that managers take the time to notice when employees are doing the right things instead of just when things go wrong.
  • Instead of waiting to learn about major employee contributions, managers should become proactive and spend part of each working day searching out employees’ contributions that they can reward on the spot.
  • Encouraging coworkers to applaud and recognize helpful contributions.

Developing a new culture, especially in the workplace, isn’t always the easiest task for anybody to take on however, recognition is infectious and once the culture begins to change you will start to notice increased morale, positive emotions, and eventually self-reinforcement. So the next time we notice our colleague doing something to help our team, acknowledge their effort and hard work it may be the catalyst for the change we want to see!

Leaders Are Not Always at the Top

Leaders do not have to be outgoing, success-driven and positioned at the top of the organizational chart.  Many of today’s leaders are reserved, energized by failure and have roles all over the organizational chart.    Yes, these leaders are powerful; however, their strength and influence come from the inside out, not the other way around.

Tips to keep in mind to help you succeed as a leader:

  • Accept failure: Failure is the stepping stone of success
  • Embrace who you are: Self –knowledge is critical.  If you are an introvert do not try to be an extrovert.  Use the strength you already have.
  • Build relationships early: Be a team player on a regular basis, don’t wait until you are looking for a win.
  • Question everything: Ask yourself and others; If you had my job, what would you do?
  • Find people who challenge you: Include team members who play devil’s advocate.
  • Take initiative: If there is something you want, speak up.

Inc.com “5 Habits of the Most Connected People” July 26, 2017, Andrew Thomas


Office Space = Productivity

Employees with privacy when they need (e.g. private office space) are 1.7 times more likely to be engaged in their work than other employees.

Employees with flexible worktime or a personal workspace are 1.4 times more likely to be engaged.

And employees with a door they may shut are 1.3 times more likely to be engaged.

HR Magazine “Office Space” December 2017/January 2018; Source: Gallup

Notable New Limits for 2018

  2017 2018
Taxable earning for Social Security $127,200 $128,700
Defined contribution plan maximum employee elective deferral $18,000 $18,500


Health flexible spending accounts annual contributions (individual) $2,600 $2,650


Health savings account annual contribution (family) $3,400 $3,450


HR Magazine “Out with the Old” December 2017/January 2018

New Boss and Building Trust with Employees

Communicate with your team; don’t just talk.  Ask your team questions and listen to the answers and suggestions.  It is important to sit down and talk to your new team as often as possible.  Ask your team for ideas and feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly.  This helps to keep the lines of communication open.

Be confident as the new leader.  Also show confidence in the team’s ability.  Let the team develop the skills they need to be successful.  Encourage and boost the team’s confidence and remind them no idea is to outrageous to consider.


Commit to your team as much as they commit to you, if not more.  This will develop over time.  Commitment comes naturally with a constant stream of communication and mutual respect.  Commitment mean trusting your team to do their jobs.

Being a successful leader boils down to trust and respect.  If you show your team that you trust and respect them, they will respond in kind. Your team will also be more engaged and productive.

Fortune.com “How Every New Boss Should Build Trust with Employees” April 8, 2017, Kammi Skrzypek

Myths about Discipline

#1:  As long as an employee is performing well, there is nothing I can do about their bad behavior.

It is important to bring the inappropriate behavior to the employee’s attention in a timely manner, discussing ways the behavior may be corrected/resolved and reviewing with the employee the position description and expected performance standards.  The employee needs to know that the inappropriate behavior is just that, inappropriate and is expected to stop.

#2:  Employees should already know what are my expectations and standards.  If they don’t meet them I can discipline them.

Gather facts before exploring the possibility of disciplinary action.  Find out the who, what, where, when, and how. Were there witnesses? The most important question to ask is to yourself, “Have I set clear expectations?”  If the answer is no, the next step is to set clear expectations, not discipline

#3: “At-will” employees may be terminated at any time for any reason.

At OSU we expect to give employees due process prior to being terminated. Employees should have the opportunity to give their side of the situation.  We need to look into the accusations.  The termination must be legal and nondiscriminatory; may not appear to be retaliatory, may not be based on age, religion, race, gender, sex or any other protected status and may not be in response to the employee engaging in a protected activity.

Blog.cupahr.org “3 Myths About Faculty and Staff Discipline” October 16, 2017, Jill Thompson

How to Become Connected

As many of us know, success in business (and in life) often comes down to who you know, not what you know.    Some of the most well connected people have networks so strong that they are able to make anything happen in two phone calls or less.

There are five habits that will help you foster the relationships that will lead to a powerful network:

  1. Be generous, the best relationships are built on a mutual desire to give value to the other person. Both parties should focus on giving, not receiving, this will foster a genuine bond that goes deeper than the value of the exchange.  This will help build mutual trust.
  2. Listen well, people want to be heard and understood. Develop self-awareness and notice if you are truly engaged in the conversation.  A quick and easy way to be a better listener is to stop interrupting.
  3. Treat others the way you want to be treated, strive to have a good reputation. Building a positive reputation will take time, however, it is vital to building relationships.  Consistently treat others the way you want to be treated, this is the best way to build a stellar reputation.
  4. Celebrate others’ accomplishments, this makes people feel good. This doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture it could be just a quick congratulation on social media or an email.  Although a phone call or in person celebration is even better.
  5. Focus on quality, focus on fostering a few key relationships, rather than trying to spread yourself thin across as many people as possible. The best networks are created through depth, not breadth.

Meaningful relationships are built with intention, honesty, generosity and sincerity.  There are no shortcuts.

Inc.com “5 Habits of the Most Connected People” July 26, 2017, Andrew Thomas