Photo: Twenty20 / @indrasyach

By Ashley Alt

It has become normal, expected even, for the average working professional to change career paths three or four times over the course of their life. Bonuses, company perks and paid vacation days aren’t enough to keeping employees around. Perhaps the millennial mindset is to blame, but eight times out of ten, it’s because employees are simply unhappy.

We were curious. Why do good employees quit seemingly “great jobs?”

From an out-of-the-blue two weeks’ notice to an abrupt Houdini, it often leaves managers scratching their heads as to why their top employees have left for greener pastures. We asked around to find out how higher ups can keep their employees happy in the workplace, and in turn, sticking around.

1. Be transparent

While good salaries and promotions are important to any employer, transparency has been found as the number one contributor to employee happiness. Especially if you are in sales. Believing in who the company is and what the company stands for, and communicating that belief to your employees will make a big difference in how workers respond to and relay the message of the business.

This is also the case for the typical day-to-day such as being clear about stating why a meeting is being held or explaining how a presentation should be conducted. Leaving things in the dark will cause misunderstandings and resentments.

2. Set an example

If you come in late to work, employees think that they can come in late to work. If you set a formal dress code but show up to the conference room in jeans and a T-shirt, you won’t be taken seriously. Not setting standards actively undermines your own authority. Not adhering to those standards you have set causes even bigger problems, leading to all sorts of boss-employee relationship issues.

3. Make work fun!

We all know work is called work for a reason. It isn’t always fun. Make the Monday morning trudge to the office a little bit more enjoyable by surprising your colleagues with coffee on their desks or making weekly sales incentive games. Implementing small gestures every now and then shows your employees you appreciate them, which they appreciate.

4. Make employees part of the big picture

Everyone likes to feel like they belong. This rings significantly so of being part of something already successful. Discussing future opportunities and personal goals with employees ignites excitement, resulting in motivation to continue to be an asset to the company.

5. Ask employees for their input

This one is a game-changer. Asking employees for their take on an upcoming project lets them know that their opinion matters, which gives them more confidence in themselves and in the workplace. Opening up creative conversation gives both of you new ideas and inspiration to work from. Everyone wins.

6. Treat your employees like adults

This one sounds pretty self-explanatory (and maybe a bit silly) but a lot of bosses get so caught up in boss mode that they forget they are talking to another adult. Telling someone what you expect of them or how you want something done can easily come across as overly controlling if you don’t take the time to speak tactfully.

Along with the fair treatment policy, be sure to thank your employees. For reminding you to send that email or staying late to help you meet a deadline, thank them.

7. Take an interest in who your employees are

Know a little bit about your employees’ personal lives. Remember their birthdays, congratulate them on their engagement and ask them how their weekend was. Relating to them on a different, more meaningful, level can ease any tension or nervousness that may be lingering, so everyone feels more relaxed.

8. Encourage exercise and sleep

Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy for the average working professional, and hard weeks can be mentally and physically exhausting. Don’t forget to tell your employees to take breaks. It’s proven that taking multiple, tiny breaks during the day increases productivity and energy levels. Keep your worker bees at their most productive by installing a water cooler, stocking the kitchen with healthy snacks and by encouraging gym time.