Two female colleagues talking to one another at a meeting.

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To date, there have been at least 1,500 studies investigating the cause and effect of staff turnover, but they haven’t managed to come to any kind of consensus yet. Now, another study has joined the fray, with researchers from France and the United Kingdom saying that energy toward coworkers is a major factor in turnover.

What this really means is that people who have “energetic activations” with their colleagues (i.e. they uplift others and inspire them) are less likely to leave a job. To the contrary, those who feel emotionally and physically drained by their colleagues are more likely to quit. Perhaps even more revealing is the finding that those who give off negative vibes are more likely to be fired.

Most of this is probably subconscious, meaning that we know which coworkers make us feel more or less energetic, but we don’t really think about it. But the researchers behind the study are suggesting that maybe we ought to think more about this on a conscious level. Perhaps employers should put a rating system in place where enthusiasm or energy can be evaluated during the hiring or review process. Perhaps there should be more of a focus on it during leadership training or other exercises.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Trying to enforce enthusiasm at a job can backfire, as just about anyone who works in retail can tell you. The trick lies with figuring out out how to “teach energy” without being condescending.

But employers also need to pay attention to the job environment and make sure that it isn’t draining as well. An employee may be low energy at his/her job, but that energy might have less to do with others and more to do with tasks associated with his/her role. While this study may be useful, it goes without saying that it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to blame employees for things that are out of their control.