You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough To Work Here

Filed in HIRING ARTICLES by on April 29, 2015

Why do talented municipal employees, right across Canada, leave seemingly good jobs despite the fact that they are earning top salaries? If you are like many municipal managers this is one question you would really like to have answered. It might surprise you to know, that the odds are, they quit for the same reasons that many good people before them quit.

Why Employees leave your municipality?

The answer lies in one of the largest studies ever undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers. It was published in a book called First Break All The Rules written by Marcus Buckingham. Among all the information gathered and sorted, the pollster came up with this surprising finding: If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate supervisor.

Besides salary, the boss, is the biggest reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And the boss is also the reason they quit. And when they do they take their knowledge, experience and contacts with them.

Here are four determining factors that employees give as their prime reasons for moving on. What is very important to note is these factors that are in the control of every manager.

 1. I don’t like the atmosphere. This is more of a corporate culture issue than anything else. Often a town’s reputation is a major factor, too. Other factors contributing to the “feel” of the place are the physical conditions, which would include things like comfort, convenience, and safety and even how well the municipality’s mission statement is understood by everyone.

 2. No one would even notice if I stopped coming to work. In spite of the fact that most employers do really value their staff … apparently they can’t tell them often enough. The challenge is if people feel unimportant or undervalued there really is no compelling reason for them to keep coming to work. Being a number, just another name on the list or tool to be used just doesn’t cut it … you might as well drag someone in off the street. People who have the feeling you don’t care if they come to work or not will ultimately leave to find a job where they are appreciated.

 3. I feel very alone I don’t get the kind of support I need in order to get my job done. Contrary to the popular opinion of bosses most people genuinely want to do a good job. The frustration of red tape, arbitrary rules, dipstick supervisors and nerdy coworkers push people out the door to look for fresh opportunities.

 4. You just can’t get ahead in this municipality…this complaint is not about career advancement even though many people do deserve an opportunity to move up. The underlying issue is about an opportunity to learn. People like to learn, they want to hone their skills and discover new ones. Most men and women want to broaden their capacity to do a wide variety of jobs. There may be a bit of career security about it too, but that inner need to develop and get more training is often present. If your staff can’t find an opportunity for advancement in your municipality they’ll find a municipality where they can.

Believe it or not, according to Gallup, job dissatisfaction is not really about money. I may be going out on a limb here but I believe that your staff wants to be treated fairly when it comes to money, but not in the absence of a great workplace atmosphere. Being appreciated tops money, too as does getting the bosses support.

And finally, money alone is not going to “cut it” unless there is an opportunity for advancement. Put another way, in the absence of these four, even great money may still have people saying “you can’t pay me enough to work here!”

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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