This is Why People Leave Your Company

When Carly Guthrie was running HR for Per Se, one of the hottest restaurants in New York, the General Manager gave her a piece of advice: “You know, Carly,” he said. “If we’re doing our job as leaders, aperformance review should only be two columns: Column A is what you dogreat and Column B is what you do not-so-great. Now, here’s how wemove things from Column B to Column A.”

This approach stuck with Guthrie as she left the restaurant world to head up people operations for tech companies. It shocked her that these types ofcandid conversations were hardly ever happening, and people left as aresult. “There’s a mercenary mentality in tech right now — an idea thatthere’s always going to be something hotter, faster, more groundbreaking,” she says. “And yet, there’s very little internal discussion about how to keep people.”

Guthrie has been watching employees take and leave jobs for over 15years. Turns out, the reasons people love and hate their work are largely thesame across sectors. Step one to retention: Understanding why and howit fails. In this exclusive interview, Guthrie shares what she’s learned aboutwhy people quit, and what startups can do after an employee’s first day tomake sure they stay happy, engaged in their work, and committed to yourcompany (and to deleting every email they are most certainly receivingfrom recruiters).


You don’t respect their time.

In Guthrie’s experience, employees will follow up with recruiters and other job offers if they're even slightly angry, bored or dissatisfied. “Usually thehours are wearing on them or their spouse is on their case because they’re never home,” she says. “A really good CEO thinks about the bigger pictureand realizes people have lives outside of work. That’s the number oneway to prevent people from feeling like they might want to besomewhere else.”

But it’s easier than you think to be thoughtless. For example, Guthrie hasseen countless companies throw weekly happy hours that start at 4:30 p.m. every Friday. The result: People feel like they have to stay until 6 to bea good co-worker, then they get a slow jump on traffic, they get home laterand they’re tired, when they really want to just go do their own thing. “Just moving the happy hour to Thursday would show a tremendous amount ofawareness and make people feel that much better about the company andleadership,” she says. (Read More...)