Why Workers Quit
13 January, 2023

Why Do Restoration Workers Quit? We Asked Them

Leighton Healey

In the era of The Great Resignation, a loyal worker is a manager’s most valuable asset, so it’s imperative to know what motivates them to stay at their current job vs abandoning ship to a new one. That’s why KnowHow conducted the largest ever survey on the restoration workforce, to hear from the mouth of the worker themselves: why do they quit, and why do they stay.

One of the most significant (yet least surprising) findings coming from the survey was the discovery that many employees are quitting companies simply because they don’t get along with their management team.

Our survey included responses from employees working across all business units operating within the restoration industry from field workers to office employees. No matter what business unit, they all agreed on the same thing: managers have an outsized influence on whether they stay or go.

We did a whole blog post on the growing rift between managers and employees, so make sure to check it out and dive deeper into the manager-worker relationship in our book, Why Workers Quit.

What else causes a restoration worker to begin looking for new job opportunities? Here are some of the other headlines from our survey asking 400+ workers why good people quit the restoration industry.

Poor Pay

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but whether an employee feels fairly compensated plays a big role in how long they stick around. But owners feeling pinched on margins have more control over this than they might expect.

As Phillip Rosebrook, Partner at Business Mentors says in our book, “you need to link your paycheck with a purpose. Would a worker rather stand at a counter and make burritos all day long? Or restore lives and livelihoods after fires, floods, and other disasters?” If you can tell a compelling story of purpose, and link it to a real career path, you’ll find employees who quickly realize that there’s more to work than just the number on their paycheck. Without this though, don’t be surprised if an employee toils away after a hard day of work that feels meaningless, and begins asking themselves if they’re getting as much out of your company as they’re putting in.

Feeling Disrespected

A big part of respect is understanding your employees' perspectives. Seeing things from their point of view can go a long way in creating a solid relationship between management and employee.

Many employees complained about not feeling heard or having their point-of-view validated. This doesn’t mean letting your 23-year-old tech run the company, but it does mean bringing them into your decision making, and ensuring you have a good pulse on what their biggest frustrations are. Many employees told us they felt their management team created a toxic work culture and showed favoritism toward certain employees. How confident are you that the frontline workers and office staff at your company don’t feel the same way? Is this an assumption, or based in fact?

Stressful Workload

Many people believe that stress and chaos are inherent to an industry that responds to natural disasters, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. For example, look at the above image and zoom in on who responded that good workers quit because of stress and workload.

You'll notice, it's not the field workers, it's the managers and office staff.

Simply put, the systems and processes managers put in place determine if a work environment is going to be chaotic, or structured. Many of them have chosen chaos.

Some restorers do quit because of a stressful work environment, but managers have the ability to fix that by creating clear, step-by-step guides and becoming process-driven.

Whether it's because workers feel undervalued, disrespected, or like they're working in a chaotic environment, it's management's responsibility to address the biggest reasons workers quit.

The first step to overcoming these problems is to stop “managing based on gut instinct” and instead create repeatable processes and procedures for your team. Smooth, predictable operations in the management team will trickle down to field workers and make them feel more appreciated, relaxed, happy, and excited to help your business succeed.

Looking for help becoming a process driven company? That’s why we created KnowHow. We help restoration companies all over North-America succeed by equipping them with processes they need to run a well-oiled machine built for success.

Visit our website today to learn more, or book a demo. If you haven’t already, download the full e-book “Why Workers Quit” for more great insights and lessons about the restoration workforce directly from the source: restoration workers themselves.

Want to see what KnowHow can do for your workforce? Book a demo.
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