I read this article the other day that really struck home with me so I wanted to share it – especially after I wrote about how you need to find a job you love. Forbes broke down the top ten reasons why large companies fail to keep their best talent and these are all definitely things I’ve seen in my work experience so far. Here’s their list (and my comments):
1. Big Company Bureaucracy
Forbes explains that no one likes rules that make no sense. “When top talent is complaining along these lines, it’s usually a sign that they didn’t feel as if they had a say in these rules. ” This is exactly how I felt when I wrote my post (i.e. rant) about having to be “on time” at work. Rules that make no sense just make people resentful – especially if we have no say in it.
2. Failing to Find a Project for the Talent that Ignites Their Passion.
Luckily, this is one area I’m happy in. I like the project I’m working on right now but the company does view it as lower priority and I keep getting told that I need to finish it quickly so I can move onto their main project. It’s tough to hear because I feel like it’s a really important project – but they don’t understand that. Since I get to work on it anyway, I’ve learned to just ignore their complaints.
3. Poor Annual Performance Reviews
My manager was really good come review time but I found one process here that’s kind of strange – they don’t like to talk raises at the time of the review. Instead, a week later, they’ll come around with a card for each person saying thank you and what your new salary is. I asked my manager about it and he said that if you are unhappy with it, you can always bring it up afterwards. Not sure how well that conversation would go though.
4. No Discussion around Career Development.
This is definitely a must-have for me. I know I don’t want to be a developer forever even though I’m happy with it right now. If my manager wasn’t willing to talk about areas I could move into in the future, I would feel really frustrated. Good managers should encourage their people to grow and find out where their passions really lie.
5. Shifting Whims/Strategic Priorities.
Huge frustrations here. We get a lot of the “this new thing just came up, can we do it now?” type of questions and it becomes really hard to push back and explain to them about priorities. Luckily, the new director of web seems to be doing a good job of pushing back on these kind of things – I can only hope this helps us out in the future.
6. Lack of Accountability and/or telling them how to do their Jobs.
For awhile, my manager was very hands-off with me, letting to do my project by myself. This sounds nice but I really needed someone to hold me accountable and also to help understand the project I was working on (which he didn’t at that point). If I was working with at least one other person on this project, that wouldn’t have been a problem but as it was, I was working alone.
I ended up talking to my manager about it and explaining how stressed out I was because this was basically all on me. I needed someone else to bounce ideas off of and talk to about the methods I’m using to solve the problems. He completely understood and became a lot more involved in the project which really helped to take the stress off of me. He’s good about not micro-managing so I never resented the help at all.
7. Top Talent likes other Top Talent.
This is something I don’t feel we have at my company. At my last one, everyone (other than managers) were software developers so there were definitely senior devs to learn from. Here, I don’t feel like we have any senior devs – and we definitely are missing that top talent in our testing team. Our QA team does the best they can but they didn’t have any QA experience when coming in so that’s just a huge limitation. I wish we could have a senior dev – or at least a senior architect of some sort – so I definitely agree with this point.
8. The Missing Vision Thing.
My company has a vision and it definitely helps. I felt my last company didn’t have as much of a vision – they knew where they wanted to get to but their plan for getting there was all over the place. They kept dabbling in different areas hoping that something would stick but, of course, it didn’t. A company’s vision is definitely important as is a solid plan to get there.
9. Lack of Open-Mindedness.
This is probably my biggest thing I need to stay at a company. When I’m asked to do something, I tend to question it a lot so I can get a better understanding. I want to know what business problem it’s trying to solve, why is the solution this and not solution Y, how does it affect other areas, etc. If I had a manager who would not be willing to listen and explain it to me – and raise my questions up the chain if I poke holes in anything – I would not want to stick around. I need my opinion to be valued and if it isn’t, well, it’s not the right place for me.
10. Who’s the Boss?
I’ve been lucky here. I loved my first two managers, didn’t love my third but I didn’t hate her either, and I love my manager now. None of them are perfect but they could always be a lot worse. Honestly, if my current manager left and someone replaced him who was close-minded, micro-managing, unsupportive, a bad leader, etc, I would be out of here ASAP. It’s just one of those things that I wouldn’t be able to deal with.
If you want to read more, here’s a great follow up article to this Forbes article.
What do you think of these points? Have you experience these things are your job? Do you feel like these are valid reasons why top talent doesn’t stick around?