David Niu

As a manager, have you ever had that haunting feeling when an employee gives you their two-week notice out of the blue? You were probably shocked and left wondering, “What went wrong? Is it something I did? Is it something I didn’t do?”

Then after the shock, you’re probably left thinking, “How am I going to backfill their role? Do I have to hire a recruiter? Can I even go on vacation?” Here are the three likely reasons why your employees are unhappy and considering quitting.

Lack of Transparency
TINYpulse published an employee engagement survey in 2013 based on 40,000 responses from employees around the world and found that management transparency is the number one factor determining employee happiness. Management transparency had a correlation coefficient of 0.93 with employee happiness. This finding even surprised us and our research team.

Think about it – transparency costs nothing, yet can be the single most important tool in improving employee engagement. By trusting your team and their discretion with information such as budget, customer feedback, and strategic planning, employees equate that with increased management transparency which leads to higher satisfaction levels.

Lack of Recognition
Countless research has shown that expressing gratitude can improve one’s health, relationships and overall well-being. Recent study from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and George Mason University shows that compassion in the workplace led to less worker absenteeism and increased employee satisfaction.

Most managers rely on informal feedback or formal 1-on-1’s to provide feedback to their staff. But they overlook other avenues that are lightweight and easy to implement. In fact, our TINYpulse study, showed that when given a simple system to express gratitude, study, 36% of the time, they did choose to provide kudos to someone else at work. Progressive organizations implement multiple channels to foster and facilitate recognition in a 360 approach.

Lack of Feedback
Let’s be honest, how often do you check the anonymous employee suggestion box outside of the HR office? Probably not very often. Employees value giving feedback. TINYpulse’s survey reveals that 18% employees who responded to a survey also voluntarily provided feedback. Today, technology allows HR managers to collect and organize employee suggestions. The same technology also ensures anonymity to give respondents a safe harbor to provide more honest and open suggestions. For example, one of our client’s employee’s gave an anonymous suggestion that “hosting conference calls in rush hour traffic is highly dangerous.

Of course, this is a bit tongue in cheek but also very valid. The CEO was surprised because they’ve been holding this conference call during rush hour for over a year and no one walked through his open door to raise this issue. But within two weeks of TINYpulse, this feedback came up. Now that he was aware of the issue, he easily moved it to another time. But you don’t know what you don’t know.

By providing more transparency, recognition, and feedback, all of which cost nearly nothing, you just may save employees who are about to jump ship.

David Niu is the Founder and CEO of TINYhr.