When Demotivation Strikes, Part 1 - 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.

Why Your 10 Best Employees Are Quitting This Year

Let’s start with Achievers…


If employers are looking for goal-oriented professionals ready to jump in, they’re looking for people who identify as achievers.

These people are incredibly motivated by the drive to GET. IT. DONE. Tasks, Projects, Launching programs. You name it. They want their name on it.

 So what drives Achievers to go get it done on your competitor’s next big initiative?

Lack of clear goals, with no clear measures of success. A management structure that jumps from initiative to initiative giving Achievers no ability to complete projects. Employees are neither actively rewarded for great achievements, innovations, or breakthroughs in gaining competitive advantage, nor are employees held accountable for problematic performance. All of this greatly demotivates Achievers.

 Next, let’s talk about Activators…


When employers cite a collaborative spirit and unique ability to spur ideas into action, they’re looking for an activator.

Activators learn by doing. They will jump in, get things started, and are not afraid to try lots of different strategies quickly to find the best solution to a business challenge. Nimble, flexible, creative. Sounds great, right?

Why do Activators take their great solutions elsewhere?

Freedom to make decisions and the space to learn through experience (and fail fast) is only allowed in theory, not practice. Innovation is a noble goal, but it's only reserved for a few. The Activator's catalytic sense of urgency dims, and their motivation deteriorates.

Next is Accommodators…


These employees provide the flexible, can-do attitude with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Iteration is in their DNA. The recognize that there’s not always a clear, linear path to the goal line, and they thrive in that uncertainty.

What makes Accommodators decide their can-do attitude just can’t make it work at your company?

The business process is overly structured with no clear benefit -- processes need optimization and operational habits actually create inefficiencies and stifle innovation. There is a lack of freedom to find a different way. Accommodators generally view processes as existing just 'for the sake of it' and find few ways to leverage their strengths once inside an organization.

Fourth, are Believers…


These are the people who have a deep commitment to doing work that matters. They have an enduring desire to pursue a purpose and deliver a meaningful impact.

This person would be a great asset anywhere. So why to Believers pursue meaningful change somewhere else?

Lack of connection between work initiatives, strategic direction, and why it matters. Why are we innovating? What will be the demonstrable greater benefit? Is there a clear articulation of this case, and how various work connects to it? Believers need these answers, or they will find them elsewhere.



Finally (for this post!), are the Dreamers…

When companies post about providing a creative environment where new ideas flourish, you send out the signal to all the Dreamers out there. They are intensely motivated by the joy of peering over the horizon to see what could be. They are able to envision the future laid out by your company, and they have the capabilities to implement the strategies that get you there.

What drives Dreamers to chase another company’s version of the future?

There is no way to contribute process improvements, new ways of doing things, strategic goals, or exciting initiatives. In these instances, Dreamers are constantly bogged down, hyper-focused on the day-to-day with no time for ideation. Dreamers become disenchanted by the culture of innovation in theory, but not practice.