The Labor Department report on Thursday shared some very exciting news – Unemployment lines across the U.S. last week were the shortest since December 1969! Curious to learn more on how workers are taking advantage of this strong job market, I put Google, Apple and LinkedIn to assist and came across two intriguing articles published by The Washington Post – 1. These workers quit their jobs without two-weeks notice. Here’s what they did instead. 2. Workers are ghosting their employers like bad dates.

When employees leave their current jobs, they have a range of reasons from Professional to Personal. The most common one that we’ve heard (or used it ourselves) is “Lack of Growth Opportunities”. What does this really mean? What are they really trying to say? Do companies understand the underlying message well to revisit their retention strategies?

No one wants to be in a job that has no learning, earning or growth potential. Likewise, no employer/company is in business to stagnate. When both parties (employee and employer) want value & growth, there should be no room for “Lack of Growth Opportunities”, right? Yet there is. How?

What many employees don’t communicate until they decide to leave and what employer’s don’t realize until the employee has left is what I call ‘Value Distortion’. Value Distortion is the gap or difference between employee’s perception of value added to the company and employer/company’s perception of the same. This gap rarely presents itself when the employee-employer relationship is new. However, it tends to widen with one’s tenure with a company and the company’s growth charter.

A simple strategy that can help your company from losing talent – ‘Minimize Value Distortion’.

Here are the coherent actions for this strategy.

    • Start right – Job descriptions must succinctly state how a position would add value to the company, goals, vision, mission and what it would take for someone to be successful doing it
    • Reinforce – During interviews and on-boarding, reinforce the message of value add and success criteria
    • Put it on paper – Include necessary details on the offer letter
    • Add it to Goals and 360-degree reviews and track
    • Follow through – Transparently discuss with the employee during every 1:1. Learn what s/he believes as value add and what growth is s/he expecting. Communicate what your take on that is. Document progress.
    • Help – The cardinal role of a leader is to help others succeed. Help your employees add the value they think and you want. A win-win!

No bad surprises – Avoid surprising employees during the annual performance review or appraisals. Periodic (monthly or quarterly) transparent reviews are the answer here.

Since value is perception based, aiming to reduce Value Distortion is prudent than aiming to eliminate it.

Reduce value distortion, retain talent! Good Luck.