A recent study has suggested that broken processes in companies are driving employees away. Conducted by Lucid Research in July 2017, the study polled 1,000 full-time employees who worked in businesses with 1,000 or more employees.

It found that a third of those employees are actively looking for new jobs and of those job seekers, 86 percent say they are leaving their companies because of broken processes.

The four most common broken processes in corporations according to the survey's respondents are:

  1. Technology troubleshooting

  2. Access to tools and documents that enable good job performance

  3. Annual performance reviews

  4. Promotions

While the study focused on larger businesses, it's worth noting for small business owners. If you know what processes are likely to break as you grow, you can avoid these problems before they materialize.

1. Poor IT performance

The survey says 62 percent of employees identified IT as a broken process in their companies. For companies with in-house IT teams, 24 percent of respondents said they found the IT service to be prompt. For companies with remote IT teams, only seven percent of employees polled found the IT service to be prompt.

Worse yet, this poor performance led to employees using unsanctioned apps or devices to conduct work when IT problems weren't solved quickly enough, compromising security.

What you can do: Prioritize. If your company relies on technology, then a good portion of your spending is going to have to go toward it. That means keeping equipment up to date, investing in training and hiring the best IT firm or employees even if they're a bit more expensive. You have to prioritize IT if your company depends on it.

2. Limited access to the right tools and documents

Without access to the right tools, any job becomes difficult and potentially unbearable. If people cannot perform the tasks they are expected to because you don't give them the right tools, they'll bolt because they'll feel like you aren't willing to put up the money for doing things right.

What you can do: Get feedback. Sometimes managers believe they know the best way to perform a task, but the only person who really knows is the one doing it. Talk to your employees and make sure they have access to what they need to do their jobs.

3. Ineffective annual performance reviews

I am baffled when I ask people I'm interviewing to tell me about their last performance review, and they don't have anything specific to say. It could be just the candidates themselves who are unwilling to share, but I usually probe a bit more with my questions. It leads me to the conclusion that many companies don't provide good feedback to their employees about where they stand and what they can change or improve.

What you can do: Review the reviews. A lot of business people think performance reviews only go from the top down, but they should be going from the top down, from the bottom up and even laterally. And the reviews themselves should also be reviewed by employees and updated based on the feedback given.

4. Stifled career advancement

Sixty-seven percent of respondents to the survey believe their career aspirations are hampered by their company's broken processes, with 57 percent saying they see broken administrative processes, like determining promotions, as a hurdle to their careers. Not having a clear path for advancement has led 63 percent of survey respondents to look for a new job.

When hiring, I always ask people why they are looking to transition to a new job. The number one response I get from good candidates is they love where they are, but they don't see any room for advancement at their current companies.

This is, unfortunately, the bane of having a solid corporate culture at your business. If it's good, you have little turnover and end up with no room at the top for people to advance to.

What you can do: Define career paths. Obviously it's difficult to tell new employees exactly what they can expect in terms of career advancement. It's rarely exact. Some people will advance faster than others and there are only so many positions to advance into.

Be honest about where ceilings are in your company and when somebody has hit that ceiling. You'll inevitably lose some employees that you'd like to keep, but let them advance their careers elsewhere if you know they aren't going any further in your business.

If you develop good processes in your business right from the beginning, you'll be able to scale up while keeping those processes from breaking and making employees unhappy.

Published on: Jan 25, 2018