Why Do People All Quit Jobs At Once?
After three of Harry and Meghan's staff all quit their jobs at once, people are sensing a trend... and it's actually pretty common.
Should Prince Harry and Meghan Markle be worried? The pair have reportedly lost three staff members in just six months, the latest Meghan's personal assistant, identified only as “Melissa”.
But Melissa’s not the only one to have left -- Edward Lane Fox, who was formerly Harry’s “right-hand man”, quit recently after 15 years in the job and now there are reports that the couple's private secretary Samantha Cohen is also preparing to exit her role.
Mass exodus much?
Originally from Brisbane, Ms Cohen, 49, had been one of the Queen’s “most trusted” staffers for almost 20 years and took on the role in May -- after Meghan and Prince Harry married -- making the move from Buckingham Palace to work with them in Kensington.
As a source told the Daily Mail, it's beginning to look like an alarming trend -- and people are questioning just what's going on.
“To lose one member of the household could happen to anyone. To lose three in a few months is starting to look like a stampede,” said the source.
But is it that uncommon? There are many studies that suggest people often leave companies in waves.
Career expert Michelle Gibbings told 10 daily, "A number of people leaving at the same time can be an indication that there’s something unhealthy about the work environment. For example, post the merger of two organisations or during large change programs you often see a flow of people leaving because the work environment no longer works for them. While the decision may have been made independently, the instigation of the decision process to leave often arises at the same time."
Add the career coaches at Lighthouse.com, there are many reasons people quit their jobs one after the other.
Reason 1. Because if one person is unhappy, chances are others will be too (take note Harry and Meghan!)
Whatever caused someone to want to look for another job is probably being experienced by others on the same team as well, according to Lighthouse.com. In other words, a bad manager, unworkable conditions, too much work... that kind of thing.
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar (who is, incidentally, famous for Dunbar’s number) theorises that the main reason humans have such large brains is to manage complex social relationships in a community. "Work is one such community, complete with politics, drama, alliances, and social norms. As social creatures, we talk about the good, the bad, and each other," they say.
"If one person on your team perceives a problem, chances are others feel it and have talked about it, too. Whatever is bugging one person is usually bugging others; they just haven’t told anyone yet or you missed the signs. It’s these irritants that build up enough to lead to people considering leaving."
Reason 2. Because new jobs always sound so great
"Anyone on your team that is interviewing for other jobs is hearing the greener grass pitch," say the coaches. And once they have the job, the person leaving the company will likely talk excitedly about their new job no matter what; even if you keep them from giving a two week notice, they’ll still likely be in touch with colleagues who will hear how great the new place is over drinks, coffee, email or Facebook."
Reason 3: Because if someone is bought on by a friend, chances are they will follow them out again
"If people recruit their friends to your company, they’ll also draw them away when they leave," say Lighthouse. And it rings true -- people like working with friends.
Said Andrew Morris, director at recruitment service Robert Half, "Having friends in the office can make work more fun, creates team spirit and boosts productivity -- some of the cornerstones of a loyal organisation."
If that changes, natch you're going to want to head out too, and find something fun to do, right? And -- if your friend goes somewhere good, they'll want to bring you along for the ride.
Reason 4: Because when one person leaves it can cause people to think about what they COULD be doing
Even if they’re not close friends with the person leaving, it can be a wake up call to them and everyone else in the company. They may ask themselves, “If they’re leaving, maybe I should too,” or, “If he got that kind of offer, I wonder what I could get?”
Okay that all makes sense but what if you are a manager and this looks like it's happening to you -- what should you do?
Says Michelle,"It depends on who in the team is leaving. As a new manager, you may find you want to reorganise the team and the work they do, and so departures create flexibility and space to be able to do this. At the same time, you want to effectively manage the workload of your team members who remain, so it’s important to focus on ensuring they feel supported and valued."
And, lastly, if you're working somewhere where people leave in a wave, you can use it to your advantage, says Michelle.
When there are vacancies in a team, there are opportunities that exist for those that remain. Look at the opportunities and consider how they connect to your career aspirations and the work you are interested in doing."
"If there’s the possibility to get your role expanded and responsibilities increased, be proactive about the conversation with your manager. They will likely be looking for team members to step up and get more involved. The more they rely on you, the better it is for your career prospects."
Feature Image: Getty