When Demotivation Strikes, Part 2 - Why Your 10 Best Employees Are Quitting This Year


Employee motivation is a key indicator of long-term organizational success. Managers can strategically use a deeper understanding of motivation to ensure their company is a place that employees love to stay. Let’s look at five employee identities and what makes them leave. Read Part 1 of this series here.

Why Your 10 Best Employees Are Quitting This Year

Let’s start with Fixers…

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You want a systematic, hands on approach to problem solving.  I say you want a fixer. Fixers are deeply driven by untangling challenges. The bigger the quagmire, the better. Fixers want to look at the symptoms, identify the root cause, and get cracking on the solutions that work.

 So what drives Fixers to decide your company’s problems are beyond repair?

When the company has a culture of pretending that problems don't exist or don't need to be prioritized in order for work to progress effectively. Fixers are often tasked with initiatives to creatively solve problems. If their recommendations end up on a shelf somewhere, they will probably leave and take their great solutions with them.

 Next, let’s talk about Inventors…

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Your companies are looking for a sense of curiosity and a drive to contribute ideas. You need inventors.

Motivated primarily by using fresh ideas to gain a new perspective on familiar challenges, inventors can offer creative insight that gives your company critical advantages.

Why do Inventors decide your company must not be interested in their insight?

Doing what has already been done, simply because it's what has always done. Lack of variety and creative freedom and the ability to explore ideas and fail at them as part of the process. Structure of business processes, siloed operations makes Inventors inefficient and keeps them from having the time, energy, and resources to be creative and generate meaningful ideas that will advance the company and its initiatives.

Next is Learners…

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You want someone with an appetite for challenging work that pushes everyone to learn and grow. Learners naturally have this talent. They are driven by the steady and deliberate journey from novice to mastery.

Learners are comfortable with the discomfort of not being good at something knowing that it’s the process of how you become great at something. This asset is CRITICAL to innovation.

What makes Learners the master of achieving another company’s innovative pursuits?

Innovation requires learning, but what if there is no time, space or energy for learning? How do each of your employees learn best? By teaching? By doing? By studying? Quiet time reflecting? By being coached through challenges? If the company does not know, it's at risk for losing Learners. In addition, when information and processes are kept overly siloed, Learners find it unnecessarily difficult to get the information they need to be successful. An environment of challenging work that pushes people to learn and grow is interrupted by inconsistent processes and operational inefficiencies.

Fourth, are Maximizers…

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Your company is on a mission to change the game, to be the industry transformer. To make waves. To take action.

I hope you have a strong core of Maximizers!

Maximizers are deeply driven by the potential of what could be. They excel at taking things that are good and making them superb. They only want to be part of something if it is the best version it can be.

This person would be a great asset anywhere. So what makes Maximizers want to help your competitor go from good to great?

Distractions. 'Fires.' Pop-up projects. A mantra of "just get it done and we'll fix it later." Constant reprioritization that keeps Maximizers from working in an efficient way on the things that really matter. When Maximizers are mired in problems and can't be part of transformational work, they will find a place that better quality orientation.

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Finally, are the Owners…

You want someone with uncompromising integrity, accountability, and a deep commitment to scientific rigor. Owners are here for that. Owners have an obsession for doing things right, for giving your company a strong foundation for its long-term innovation strategy.

Owners are known for their loyalty. What makes them abandon your company?

When there is little accountability, and employees aren't really given ownership over their projects, rapid changes in priorities or ownership of projects halfway through. As a result, over time, otherwise extremely reliable Owners will "check out" which compromises the integrity and the rigor of the work being done, which ultimately sacrifices the larger goal.