The “Turnover Tsunami”: Why Top Performers are Leaving Their Jobs

NEWS FLASH: your employees are leaving!

Business owners everywhere are beginning to celebrate as things gradually return to normal. At the same time, however, your employees could be writing their two weeks’ notice as we speak. Retention experts are warning us of a surge in voluntary job-leaving post-pandemic, causing a “turnover tsunami” as employees resume job searches and move on to new opportunities. A survey on U.S. and Canadian workers found that 52% of respondents plan to look for new jobs this year.

But – unlike the pandemic that came unexpectedly and unpredictably, this impending wave of turnover might actually be avoidable if companies are prepped right, starting first with your top performers.

Why Are Your Employees Leaving?

Turnover’s been an increasingly common issue in the modern workforce even prior to the global shutdown. This stems from the fact that innovative firms these days compete not only in wages, but in perks and rewards that come both intrinsically and extrinsically. Whether this has anything to do with the “turnover tsunami” ahead, the same survey conducted by the Achievers Workforce Institute highlighted that people are leaving jobs for these top reasons:

  • Compensation and corporate benefits – 36%
  • Work life balance – 25%
  • Lack of recognition for their work – 16%

Losing an employee hurts; losing a good one hurts even more. Top performers are more likely to leave a company that lacks in areas that drive them. Hence, what we recommend to employers as a first step is to identify and engage the people you don’t want to lose.

Know Your Top Performers

Top performers often have a different set of expectations. While not proven exactly, we believe it comes from the idea that they are skilled and experienced enough to easily “hop” over to another company, especially when things don’t go the way they wanted. On the other hand, if your top players are compensated well, appreciated enough, or given better flexibility at work, there is much less incentive for them to leave the team. But this is just common sense, isn’t it?

There’s more to why top performers are less satisfied with their jobs in general. Proven statistically this time, high-performing individuals are found to be 400% more productive than the average performer. That’s like hiring Superman to do the job, but are you ever aware of the existence of these powerhouses in your teams? Or do you assume everyone’s an “Average Andy” at work? It’s a sad phenomenon that higher productivity often goes unnoticed. Imagine doing four times more work than the rest of your team and the bonus goes to Andy who barely even did the minimum. What’s the point in going above and beyond if your effort continues to go unrecognized?

How to Keep Your Best Players

Top performers are driven to excel, and based on the job demands-resources model, they require equivalent drivers from the company to be highly engaged. Whether it’s to conduct a formal stay interview or to have a casual chat with your employees, direct your conversation to finding out what satisfies them and what doesn’t. Try to see from their perspective the concerns they may have and offer accommodations to their needs. For example, is the hour-long commute to the office a demotivator to this particular employee? Would giving them the option to work from home make them significantly happier and that, in turn, might get them to stay?

At the end of the day, good and transparent communication is key to many issues. If left untended, your top performers will seek new opportunities that are more challenging and rewarding.