As an employee retention author and employee retention speaker, I regularly speak with people who are involved with hiring or retaining talent. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a colleague who writes resumes for candidates. Because of his perspective, this employee retention trainer asked him what he was seeing for reasons for people looking to make a move. One of the top reasons was that people felt they were being taken advantage of. Many of these people had been with their organizations for a long time and they felt as if they had become “forgotten souls” in their organizations. These are the people that come in, do their job with little fanfare, don’t make waves and are not political game players or grandstanders.
In many cases, these people get stuck in roles where there is no challenge and there is no attempt to give them more variety to break up what may be a boring day. Instead, their boss is happy to have them in the role because the job is getting done well and there isn’t a lot of oversight that needs to take place. These people are low maintenance. Unfortunately, by doing this the person gets pigeon holed and isn’t looked at for anything other than what they are doing. The danger is that they become stale. I see this happening when someone has been at a place for five or more years. It starts to take a toll on the person. They will either “mentally check out” or they come to the realization that they can’t do this for the rest of their career without going insane from the lack of challenge. So, they start to look for another job.
Another thing that happens to these “forgotten souls” is that they get minimal increases because the organization figures they are not going to leave. Organizations forget there is a value to having them stay! The organization sees them as not aggressive and without motivation; which is wrong. They are simply good solid workers that get the job done and don’t complain about everything. So, the un-squeaky wheel gets little to no grease i.e. raises or attention. When you put the staleness and minimal raises together, it comes to critical mass and the people go to my colleague, get their resume together and find another job.
The vast majority of people in an organization are “forgotten souls.” They are solid performers who help move the organization forward. They are taken for granted. In this economy, you can ill afford to forget them with talent being at a premium. Step back, look at your workforce and ask yourself, “Have I forgotten about some of my people?”