The economy continues to chug along. A solid economy is great for business, but it also tightens the hiring market and makes it more difficult to hire top talent. One approach you can take is exploring and understanding why people leave jobs and how you can capitalize on that knowledge.

The Boss Issue

“People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.”

This quote has been repeated so many times because it resonates with so many of us. There is nothing as demoralizing as a boss who doesn’t inspire you, or worse, mistreats you. There have been countless blog posts and articles written about it, but there is one thing usually missing: the responsibility of the company employing the bad boss.

Bad bosses don’t come out of nowhere. They are hired, nurtured, and promoted. And most companies know when a supervisor is unpopular – these things are not secret. If your company has such an issue you have a few choices:

  1. Deal with the situation and coach your ‘bad boss’ on how to become an inspiring leader. Most people don’t set out to be demoralizing. The buck, at the end of the day, rests with the company.
  2. Ignore the situation and allow your great employees to leave.
  3. Fire the bad boss. This step is only fair after you’ve tried to help your bad boss transform into a good one.

If your organization has great bosses you have a great asset. Use that asset when you’re seeking candidates. Make sure that they hear from your current employees about their great bosses, whether that’s on social media or in a second round interview.

Lacking Opportunity for Growth

87 percent of Millennials say growth opportunities in a job are vital, and this desire for professional development spans all generations. Not only will offering growth opportunities help you attract new talent, it will help you create an energized, optimistic work environment and therefore retain the good talent you already have. Here are some approaches you can take:

Offer pathways to advancement. From the very beginning make advancement part of the open conversation you have with candidates and existing employees. Talk to them about where they’d like to see themselves a few years down the road and discuss with them ways they can add the skills they need to get there while doing the job they’re hired for. Match them with mentors who have the skills and experience they desire, which will make them feel that there is a track for them upwards within your organization.

Provide professional growth programs they can access. The best talent sees themselves on a continual projectile, moving forward and deepening their abilities as they go. Employees have a clear sense of how fast the job market is changing, and there is stress around the idea that they may be “left behind” if their skills become outdated. You can ease this tension and ensure that your employees have cutting-edge skills by providing programs for them to develop professionally. These may be formal workshops, on the jobs mentoring by a peer or superior, college courses or certifications, and even job shadowing.

Better Pay is Still a Key Draw

Much is written in the career sector about all of the things that motivate employees but the fact is that better pay is a big positive. When an employee is paid below what they believe they’re owed, or worse, below what they’d get elsewhere, they read that as being unappreciated. You must offer a competitive salary in order to draw the best talent, and if you do, make sure that it is clear on your job postings.

Don’t Think the Employed Want to Stay Put

74 percent of employees, even those happy at their place of employment, are open to a new job. With the last decade’s economic up and downs and the evaporation of the lifelong career, many people go through their work life with one eye on job boards. Just because someone hasn’t put their resume out there doesn’t mean they aren’t open to coming on board your company. Write your job postings with that in mind, and make it clear that their application is totally confidential.

The Benefits Matter, A Lot

Every time you turn on the news or open social media there is a story about the state of US healthcare. Don’t think that escapes the candidates you’re trying to attract. We are all one lay off away from having health care that is too expensive, and employees name medical coverage is still the most important benefit you can offer. This benefit is so important you can draw good employees away from companies not offering it.

When They Leave You

Sometimes you’re the hunter, and sometimes you’re the hunted. You may do everything right and provide an outstanding work environment and still lose great talent to another company. There are times it can be devastating personally to a boss or company who feels that they gave their employee everything they had. Set your feelings of betrayal or disappointment aside so you do not lose the opportunity to learn as much as you can from your departing employee. Make sure you set up an exit interview and let them know that they are doing you a favor by being transparent. Sometimes there are things employees won’t tell you until they have landed a new job, and sometimes those pieces information are powerful. Learn as much as you can so that you can use it to make adjustments when you are on the search to replace that great talent.

It’s a competitive job market, but you can learn by understanding why employees leave companies, and make it less likely that it will happen to you.