When employees leave their jobs, coworkers call it quits: UBC study:
People leave jobs all the time, whether they're laid off, fired, or just quit. But how do their departures affect coworkers left behind? According to a new study from the UBC Sauder School of Business, those exits can lead many others to call it quits.
The researchers delved deeply into employment data from a major retailer that was experiencing high turnover to find out why. They reviewed data for roughly a million employees — including when they were hired, which store, which position, when they left, and why.
The study authors also had access to employee performance records, so they could evaluate whether workers were high performers or low performers.
[...] "It's very bad news for organizations, especially if they are laying off high performers, because if those positions get eliminated, both high and low performers start quitting," said Dr. Sajjadiani. "It's a signal that people's jobs aren't secure, and the organization doesn't care about them, no matter how hard they work. So they think, 'I should leave as soon as possible.'"
When employees quit their jobs voluntarily, their departures give a more moderate boost to voluntary turnover, and it takes longer for that ripple effect to occur.
"To high performers, voluntary exits are a positive signal that there are better opportunities elsewhere," said Dr. Sajjadiani. "So while employees might not leave immediately, they do begin to look for other opportunities."
[...] However, when a high performer is dismissed without clear justification, employers not only open themselves to legal headaches, it also sends the wrong message to other high performers. They also start heading for the door.
According to Dr. Sajjadiani, organizations vastly underestimate the ripple effects of people leaving and the resulting human capital costs. The research also sends a clear message to organizations that they should be extremely careful when they make exit decisions, or they risk destabilizing the whole organization very quickly.
Sima Sajjadiani, John D Kammeyer-Mueller and Alan Benson, Who Is Leaving and Why? The Dynamics of High-Quality Human Capital Outflows, Academy of Management Journal, 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2021.1327
(Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, @05:39AM (4 children)
(Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 23, @01:30PM (1 child)
>those exits can lead many others to call it quits.
As you say: When high performers are let go it’s a wake up call for everyone.
More often I have left after seeing good people laid off.
Україна досі не є частиною Росії Слава Україні🌻 https://news.stanford.edu/2023/02/17/will-russia-ukraine-war-end
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, @12:31AM
That's why it's better to have workers on visas tied to their employment, health insurance tied to their employment, unemployment insurance tied to their employment, rental apartments tied to their employment, students dependent on evaluations tied to their employment. Even better to stack them - students on visas in rental units tied to their employment dependent on their employment related to their employment.
Do you see the connection?
(Score: 5, Insightful) by DECbot on Tuesday May 23, @05:31PM (1 child)
The results may be obvious, I for one, am grateful this study was done to document, empirically, the effects of people leaving. Now it is on management to keep employees happy because it is known the consequences of replacing one cog may encourage the rest to go. Do I expect this to actually change anything? Not really, but now I'll feel vindicated when I tell them 'I told you so.'
cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, @01:07AM
In the university system at least, management would rather burn the place to the ground that concede an inch that they may be in any way responsible for any shortcomings whatsoever.
(Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Tuesday May 23, @07:24AM (4 children)
Unless we're talking about someone who is a burden rather than an asset to the team (usually the manager), whenever someone gets fired, whether they are great or poor performers, it increases the workload of the rest of the team. So no matter who you fire, it will not make the rest of the team any happier, unless you use that money to spread it out over the rest of the team, or unless of course you hire someone who is better at the job.
Never ever expect me to be happy when you fire my coworker. And I'm not talking about "survivor guilt" or any such bullshit. There is no such thing. My "guilt" is that I know that I now have to pick up the slack that you created by firing the person who used to do it. And I'm by no means happy about that.
I've seen something happen like that in another department. 4 people worked there. One was fired, one quit, the third thought "So you want me and the intern to do the work of them? Screw you!" and quit as well, leaving the intern alone.
No "survivor guilt", no "signaling" no bullshit. Just plain old "I won't work 3 jobs for the price of one".
(Score: 3, Interesting) by aafcac on Tuesday May 23, @12:30PM (3 children)
It doesn't even need to be a firing either, a transfer or somebody quitting can do the same thing. I've seen it where one person quits and then before too long half, or more, of the department quits because there isn't any help available to cover the work load. Too many companies don't adequately engage in succession planning nor do they have somebody available that can help out in the mean time.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Tuesday May 23, @01:59PM (2 children)
And it doesn't even have to be that, depending on how complicated the task at hand may be. If a key person with important knowledge quits, hiring someone to replace that person will not even remotely cut it. I've seen that happen too, where people quit simply because they don't want to be associated with the impending failure the unit is heading for because nobody knew how to deal with a critical piece of technology ever since that one single person who knew it quit.
(Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Tuesday May 23, @02:55PM
Yeah - that's a huge management failure, but you'll never get them to admit it.
Heck, I've had several employers that get seriously nervous when I talk about things like making sure things are well documented, or that someone else knows how to handle things "in case I get hit by a bus".
No, I'm not planning to leave any time soon - but shit happens and I'm trying to do right by you and my coworkers. Business-critical information that only exists in one person's head means your business is one after-hours misadventure away from collapse.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24, @01:10AM
Rather than retain "problematic" staff that know their own value, management would rather switch to processes that can exploit commodity (i.e. easily replaceable) labor.
(Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 23, @12:35PM
That's true, but the mistake was thinking that your job was secure, the organization cares about you, or really cares all that much about your productivity. I can guarantee you that at any company large enough to be secure in its own survival in some form, internal politics matter at least as much as productivity and documented results.
A lot of people got proof of that during the Covid-19 pandemic, when lots of management teams were visibly totally fine with the prospect of policies that would lead to significant numbers of staff dropping dead, so long as they weren't going to be provably liable for it.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
(Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 23, @03:32PM
This seems all very pre-Biden era as the only way to keep up with inflation is to job hop in the 2020s.
Get a new job or get poor.
(Score: 5, Insightful) by Snort on Tuesday May 23, @04:21PM
You got a new job? Where? How much are they paying you? Really? That much? To do this? Can I give you my resume?