A few weeks ago, we talked about a better way to quit your job when you just can’t handle it, rather than making a scene or spectacle. Spectacles aside, what if the reason you leave isn’t necessarily because you can’t stand your current job? As I dig into my first few weeks at exaqueo, I can’t help but reflect on how I arrived here and share the knowledge I gained through my most recent job switch, and the question I asked myself: "Should I leave my job?"
I left my last few jobs for amazing opportunities, all in line with my personal goals. It was heart wrenching to go into the offices of those who mentored me…gave me every opportunity to learn and grow…and explain to them that I was leaving. I’ll never forget what the President of one of my former companies asked me after I shared with him that I was leaving to pursue a new opportunity – “is this something you are walking towards or walking away from?”
What an interesting question. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Of course, from his perspective, if this was a job I was walking away from, he wanted to know why, and if there was anything he could have done better to keep me there. I was lucky to have an employer who cared enough to ask. It takes a strong leader to put himself in this vulnerable position and be open to criticism of a company he built.
This question has a lot of power.
Marketers constantly try to get into the heads of their customers. Employers should be doing the same, and get into the heads of their employees. With employee engagement at an all time low (according to Gallup), this question should be something leaders and managers ask themselves from the perspective of their employees, well before they are faced with someone leaving. Is there anything about my company - or the way that I manage - that may cause a high performer to walk away and is within my control? Are there consistencies among staff sentiment around our culture that may have a negative impact that I can get ahead of?
Anticipating these needs is important since we all know it’s extremely expensive to ignore them (according to Fast Company, roughly $370 Billion to be exact). This is especially important in startup and high-growth companies where the business is always evolving.
Sometimes people leave because it’s just not a good fit, and that’s valuable information to know from an employer perspective, so the next new hire IS a good fit. And sometimes, an employee leaves because of an amazing opportunity, and there’s nothing you could have done. If you have to lose employees, those are the kinds you want to lose.
As for me, joining exaqueo was something I walked (leaped!) towards. I’m very excited to join the team and contribute to this growing, inspiring company.
Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.