People Are Leaving – What Shall We Do?

In separate articles and posts we have discussed in depth what a business can do to minimise the ‘churn’ of people (good people) leaving. Despite best efforts however people will change jobs – other/ bigger/ better opportunities come along and some will leave. Often just when you think you have the right team in place too. It is frustrating.

When people ‘churn’ happens, it is really imperative that you take measures to keep your team positive and motivated. When someone quits a job, it can spread to affect other employees and can cause them to consider their situation and maybe start looking when they were not before. One person departing means that other people leaving is, sadly, more likely.

Here are a few tips to keep your remaining team motivated and give you a better chance of retaining the good people you need to:

Create Stability and Certainty

You should create a state of stability and certainty for your team wherever you can. Many people will look to you as leader ‘I wonder if she/ he is next?’ So, if you have no plans to leave the company, make that clear to your people. You could say “Just so you know, I don’t have any plans to leave. I will be here for you.”

Secondly let your team have clarity on the company’s strategic direction – provide certainty by informing your team of your plan to fill in any gaps in understanding where the company is going. This will help create more solid ground and a sense of stability for your team members.

Get Individual Responses

Check in with your team members regularly to understand what work they currently have on their plates. You can then re-allocate work if you feel it necessary across the collective capabilities of the group. Invite the team to help problem solve and re-prioritise. People are motivated when they have a say in creating team goals and in what they can and can’t take on — and, they may have some great ideas that you might not think of on your own.

Their feedback will also increase your visibility into their workload, which may require you to adjust your expectations about what can realistically be accomplished.

Support Autonomy

​​Once you and your team have aligned on collective goals, allow your team members to decide how, when, and where they complete their work. We are now in a changing world and in a recent study of 5,000 knowledge workers, nearly 60% indicated that flexibility is more important to them than salary or other benefits. Along with certainty, autonomy is one of the five key drivers of threat and reward in the brain. When people feel in control and that they have a choice, they are more motivated and experience higher well-being. Conversely, a lack of autonomy can elicit a strong negative reaction that can diminish the ability to focus and collaborate.

Consider which decisions you can leave to your team members’ discretion. While some decisions may benefit from your guidance, others likely do not. Where you can provide your team members autonomy or choice, do so.

Allow Constructive Responses and Challenge

Let your team members know it’s OK to say “no” and question deadlines. Invite them to challenge your assumptions and tell you how much work something that “seems simple” will actually take to accomplish.

You will need to give explicit permission for them to do so and repeat this message over time. Some people feel intimidated about speaking up – good leaders encourage input and ensure that they lay the ground for it. When people do speak up or push back, be sure to listen, acknowledge what you’ve heard, and engage in a two-way conversation (or negotiation) about what can and can’t be done, deadlines, and how you can help remove the relevant obstacles for your team.

Failing to grant this permission and create this psychological safety for your team will only cause them to keep quiet, allowing morale to decline and burnout to increase, which will ultimately lead to more team members leaving

Take the Pressure

Give your team clear decision-making criteria as to what requests should be accommodated and empower them to say no to non-essential requests when needed. Be proactive in supporting your team members in fending off demands that your team can’t realistically meet. It can be hard for members of your team to say “no,” especially to more senior or external stakeholders, and your involvement will show your team members that you have their back. Take the lead, if necessary, in delivering a well-reasoned “no” or a “not now” to the stakeholder making the request.

Create a Real Team Feeling

Tackling big challenges together and knowing others have your back can build morale. Aim to foster a “we’re in it together” ethos where team members pitch in to help each other — which you can both role model and reward in others. This can create a camaraderie that creates lasting friendships amongst team members that extend beyond the workplace. Great work friendships increase both productivity and engagement.


When people leave your team – which is inevitable at some point – see it as an opportunity to reset and solidify your base as a team to help maintain, or even improve, team members’ individual and collective morale and performance.

By taking the above actions you can help prevent further people ‘churn’ and keep the balance of your team motivated and engaged.

If you need some help with motivating and developing your team get in touch with us at or call us on 01162325231.

The Tinderbox Team