The Top 10 Reasons Good Employees Quit

| September 13, 2017 | By

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A good job alone isn’t always enough to keep a good employee around. Employees quit their jobs for all sorts of reasons, from money to opportunity to personal factors.

Some of these things, by necessity, are out of an employer’s control. But many of them are directly linked to workplace policies and the behavior of members of leadership.

You’re only as strong as the players on your team, so it’s important to understand what makes great talent jump ship so you can take action to combat it. According to research from EY and CEB Global, these are ten of the most influential factors that cause workers to hand in their two weeks’ notice.

  1. Money

Yep, you already knew that was coming.

The workers surveyed in EY’s study named competitive pay and benefits as the number one thing they look for in a job—and, if undesirable, the number one thing that would cause them to leave. This was consistent across Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.

The easiest way to avoid losing employees over money is to maintain competitive salaries. If this simply isn’t an option, you’ll have to put forth extra effort to make up for it with non-monetary benefits and a stellar company culture.

  1. Lack Of Advancement Opportunity

What happens when a team member is crushing it in her role? Is she nurtured and groomed for something greater or does she simply… get stuck? It’s an important thing to think about, as American workers cited lack of opportunity to advance as the number two factor that would cause them to leave a job.

In lieu of (or in addition to) a pay raise, a bump in title is a great incentive for an employee to stick around. We talk more about why career development is so important and how to incorporate it into your organization in this post.

  1. Long Hours

It’s been demonstrated over and over through the years that working more hours does not breed more productivity. Even so, we’re more a overworked society than ever before, leaving more of our vacation days on the table every year.

What gives?

If staying past closing time is the norm in your line of work, you’ll have to ask yourself a tough question: are the long hours really necessary to get the job done, or do employees just feel like they’re “expected” to be there? If it’s the latter, it’s a problem that could cause top performers to slip away.

  1. Teamwork Not Valued

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No one likes feeling as if they’re doing more work than everyone else. Likewise, no worker wants to feel like an island. It’s why workers said an environment that doesn’t encourage teamwork would make them want to jump ship.

Collaboration breeds creativity and helps employees feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. To help everyone get more comfortable working hand in hand, check out these 8 Team Building Exercises That Aren’t Completely Lame.

  1. Lack Of Flexibility

Flexible workdays are becoming the norm among a growing number of companies, and employees generally seem to be pleased with the trend. 80% of workers say they’d prefer having the option to telecommute to work at least part of the time.

If you haven’t yet made the move away from a traditional 9-to-5, clock-in-clock-out work environment, here are some policies to consider:

  • Ability to telecommute
  • Personal or ‘flex’ days that are separate from vacation time and can be used to accommodate things like doctor’s appointments
  • Floating work-from-home days
  • Unlimited PTO
  1. Stigma Around Alternative Working Arrangements

Sure, your organization may have flexible work hours or offer alternative work options, but is it truly acceptable for team members to take advantage of them?

Surprisingly, workers said one of the top ten reasons they leave jobs is because of the stigma surrounding things like using flex hours or taking leaves of absence. Workers cited feeling penalized or discriminated against for taking advantage of these benefits, even when they were clearly part of company policy.  

  1. Too Much Travel

The opportunity to travel can often be seen as a job perk, but depending on the employee and the frequency, it can also be a burden.

If you’re in a field that requires employees to log some serious frequent flier miles, be sure you’re abundantly clear about the travel expectations during the hiring process. With existing employees, have an honest conversation about whether their willingness is still a fit with the requirements of the job.  

  1. Family

It’s perhaps the most personal item on this list: the employee’s family. Things like having a baby, getting a divorce, and even death can prompt an otherwise engaged worker to say goodbye.

Consider your company’s culture around family and work-life balance: does having a full life outside of work come with a negative stigma? If so, it’s time to take a closer look at your company culture.

  1. Life Milestones

Major life milestones matter more than you’d think in a person’s decision to stay at or leave a job.

Things like career anniversaries (realizing you’ve been at the same company for 20 years, for example), birthdays and reunions often prompt people to take a look inward and measure their perceived level of success. If it’s not up to snuff, they may start looking for better opportunities.

CEB Global reports that job-hunting activity spikes 6% surrounding hiring anniversaries, 12% just before birthdays, and 16% following class reunions.

Unfortunately, you can’t do much about major life milestones, but you can focus on motivating your employees to stay engaged with their jobs.

  1. Limited Access To Mentors

Finally, employees want someone look up to. Are members of leadership accessible for matters other than day-to-day work?

While it’s not part of your job description to be a mentor to your staff, it’s something that will often happen inevitably (and something millennials in particular see as highly important). In order to retain your best team members, consider investing in a formal mentorship program for promising rising talent.

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