Employee Retention – The Top 10 Reasons Why People Leave Companies

There are a number of reasons why people leave companies, employee retention is a very subjective topic and the reasons and recommendations can vary vastly between people in different industries and locations.

With the uncertainty in the economic climate we are sure there are a lot of people just hanging in until things pick up and companies start to relax budget constraints and commence recruitment for the future.

The decision to leave is an extremely hard decision and seldom done at a whim.

Companies need to be proactive and develop a clear strategy to address the following key points to retain their talent and in most cases are contrary to most peoples beliefs that wages/salaries are the single dominating factor.

We have compiled a general top 10 list of reasons.

1. Negative working relationship with manager

You have probably heard the saying that staff don’t leave companies, they leave managers (or leaders) and this is something that every manager should take on board.

We have all heard the excuses, “they offered him/her more money”, “it was a new challenge for him/her” – huh? wait a minute, shouldn’t the company that already employed this fantastic staff member be the one paying more money and giving new challenges?

Don’t be that manager that makes a last ditch salary increase pitch whilst the employee is on their way out the door – it truly is an insult both to yourself, and the employee in question.

Key Takeaway 1 – Direct managers need to foster healthy relationships and two way communication with employees.

2. Stress

Not many people are big fans of stress, and most of us make a conscious effort to remove as much of it from our lives as we can.

Fact – one of biggest cause of stress in our lives is work stress.

Key Takeaway 2 – Try to remove as much stress as you can from your employees if you want them to hang around.

3. Reduced work/life balance

Providing remote work opportunities, being flexible with hours and days worked is not always easy to either provide, or keep track of.

However just to show how important it is, a recent survey by unify showed that a whopping 43% of workers would choose flexibility over a pay raise.

Key Takeaway 3 – Be as flexible as is possible with the staff that you want to keep.

4. No recognition or appreciation

Humans like to feel appreciated, and if there is any doubt a recent survey by Glassdoor shows that 53% of employees would stay longer at their jobs if they felt more appreciated.

Key Takeaway 4 – Show appreciation whenever you can, a simple thanks can do wonders and the more appreciated your staff feel, the more likely they will be sticking around.

5. Lack of professional development

The best employees will be looking for chance to grow in their field of choice.

Key Takeaway 5 – Ensure staff, that you wish to retain, are given the right development opportunities so they have room to grow – or alternatively watch them walk out the door.

6. No opportunity for career advancement/promotion

Career opportunities are key to employee engagement – although not every employee is looking to move their way up the ladder, many of them are.

Key Takeaway 6 – Offer a career path for your employees that is clear and achievable.

7. Misalignment between salary/wages and work expectations

Staff can become disengaged if there is a gap between the salary/wages paid to them, and the expectations put upon them.

Key Takeaway 7 – Take a look at the market, pay your staff fairly and make sure it is aligned with expectations put upon them. If you do not, they will leave and find an employer that gets it.

8. Boredom

Being bored at work can be a real problem. Employees that are bored start getting restless and will tend to gravitate to finding a role where they are more engaged, and will feel like they are adding more value to their employer.

Key Takeaway 8 – As a manager you need to ensure that your staff are actively engaged in the work they are doing everyday.

9. Unofficial changes in role

There is nothing worse than when as an employee your role takes an unofficial change in direction, and you have little or no say about it.

Key Takeaway 9 – Simple one, keep your staff in the loop, and if there is a change in their responsibilities or the tasks they need to be doing, be upfront and discuss with them.

10. No clear defined company direction

In this custom insight survey 33% of disengaged employees pointed towards lack of Senior Leadership and Organization Performance/Direction as the primary cause of their disengagement.

Key Takeaway 10 – Ensure your company and leadership not only have direction, but also share it with the wider company. If employees don’t have confidence in where their company is headed the chances are they will soon be looking to jump to another ship with a better navigation system and a captain that is steering it on a clear and transparent course.

Employee Retention Videos

How To Stop Losing Your Employees

6 Steps to improving employee retention

How to Boost Employee Engagement

Employee retention is key to every companies long term success. When you think of some of the most successful companies in the world, how do you think their employee satisfaction levels are?

Glassdoors best places to work results makes for interesting reading. The top companies really seem to nail it when it comes to employee satisfaction.

So the question is..

Is employee satisfaction high, because they are such great companies?

Or are they such great companies, because employees are satisfied?


Rob StGeorge
Co Founder of RateMyCompanyUSA.com

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