Money Is Not Always The #1 Reason...

May 12, 2021

Employees come and employees go and they usually have a host of reasons why they go:

By and large, though, I hear from managers and business owners the most prominent reason for someone leaving is: More Money.

It is easy to hear that and accept it as 100% fact and true. Sure, maybe you don't have the best pay, benefits and incentives so sure, it makes sense.

I was taught a long time ago and through a career in Human Resources I heard the phrase, "People don't leave companies, they leave people". OUCH!

Early in my career, I thought that was total BS.

I mean, people were lazy, unmotivated, self serving, the wrong fit etc...

How could it possibly be me? It is absolutely impossible. Or is it...?

Taking a really hard look at myself revealed an ugly truth: I was a complete A$sh@le. I remember participating in a DiSC Profile Seminar when I worked at the Happiest Place on Earth. The profile I received as called the "Terror Profile" by the instructor. I was a high D followed by a high C.

Right or wrong on the part of the instructor, I took that as a badge of achievement and not as a developmental tool to be a better leader of people. After having such high turnover under my watch for an extended period of time, I really had to look inward for the reasons and not use my own preconceived notions.

Did I treat the person with respect and equality?

Were my expectations clearly defined and understood or did I hold people to a standard I kept in my mind?

Was I using my emotions when I disciplined the person instead of using facts and identifiable deficiencies?

Did I hire the right person to the right job or did I use 98° hiring, a warm body to do the work?

The answers were shocking at the time but looking back they were not surprising. I wish I had learned more about being a good leader when I was in college but it was obviously academic and focused more on the what's and not the how's.

I suppose every manager goes through this type of evolution from the onset of the careers through a more mature and dynamic leader who inspires their team and achieves the best out of each and every single member of their team.

Looking back over my career, I have often made less money than I was truly worth. Sure, not necessarily smart financially, but those moves have paid out for me over the long term.

I remember moving to California with little Human Resources experience other than a crapload of corporate training experience I had. Once I got there and got some experience under my belt, I was woefully underpaid for what I was responsible for.

I stayed because my manager, someone I now call a friend, was there guding me, teaching me and pushing me. Had it not been for him, I would likely not be where I am today.

Yes, not exactly the same comparison talking about staying vs leaving. But I did leave that position not because of money, but because there was a promotion opportunity for me and I had to leave the role in order to grow. Money came along with it, but it was far from my motivation to leave for it.

So, yes, I challenge whenever I hear someone is leaving for money. The evidence to the contrary is simply too high for me to ignore it.

Take a deep hard look and see what you find. Maybe you find out it really is the money, but maybe just maybe, you find out something else that can change the course of your business, career and future.