On exit surveys, when employees are asked why they’ve chosen to leave their organization, the most frequently selected option is “other.” We got curious about what those “other” reasons really are.

According to data collected by WeCare Connect, the nation’s leading provider of employee surveys for the senior care industry, the following are actual responses from caregivers who selected the “other” option:

 “I was never introduced to anyone and didn’t know my manager.”

 “The area I was working in had some deaths and it was way too soon [to be working in that particular context] after my son died 5 months ago.”

 “I felt like I was targeted and mistreated due to my skin color.”

 “No one ever wanted to train me.”

 “I didn’t have good transportation.  I was also unaware of the miles I would have to drive.”

 “Added job responsibilities of another full-time job on top of current job.”

 “I graduated from nursing school and there was no position available for me.”

 “I had safety concerns, and the Director of Dining does not understand those on the autism spectrum.”

 “This job destroyed my mental health.”

 “I was being bullied by a specific coworker. I reported it and management did not care.”

 “[My manager] wouldn’t reason with me over my hours. She wanted me to do more than what I had applied for. […] I have a baby at home and need to go by his schedule, my schedule, and the babysitter’s schedule.”

These answers are all over the map! And they are just a small sampling of the thousands of different write-in reasons given for quitting.

There’s no way for you, as a manager, to anticipate all the reasons people may leave. Yet, if you had known about issues like these in advance, many of them could’ve been resolved through simple conversation and action. Sometimes staff may leave for reasons outside your control, but many times, simply listening to their concerns will reveal a preventable reason that is causing them to consider leaving your organization.

Perhaps this is the year for listening.

“Listening tours” and stay interviews are tremendously valuable tools leaders should make a regular practice. Prioritize getting out on the floor to talk to staff one-on-one to gather real information about how people feel working for your organization, instead of making assumptions. And ensure your employee surveys are non-anonymous so you know who’s making the comments and suggestions in order to address them directly.

And you can use these conversation starters to get started today:

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
  • Tell me about a great day you had at work recently.
  • Tell me about a frustrating day you had at work recently.
  • If you could change one thing about your job, what would that be?
  • Do you feel you get proper recognition for your work?
  • How do you prefer to be recognized?
  • How can we ensure you’re treated with trust and respect in your role?
  • How could we better keep you in the loop about company updates?
  • Is there anything new you would like to learn this year?
  • Are there any resources I can provide to better support you?
  • What talents are not being used in your current role?
  • What keeps you working here?

Individuals leave for individual reasons – you need to hear from them before they get to that point.

Cara Silletto, MBA, CSP, is a workforce thought leader, keynote speaker, and author of the book, Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer

WeCare Connect is the nation’s leading provider of employee surveys for the senior care industry, with clients in over 1,300 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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