Real Reasons Your Employees Quit

By Maren Hogan

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It was the best of managers, it was the worst of managers…

No, it’s not the start of the most boring Dickensian fanfic ever, it’s the tale of the disappearing employee. Whether you're the most flexible, cool boss, or you remind your employees of an Office Space type leader, you've had someone quit. Roughly one-third of new employees quit their job withing the first 6 months of hiring. 

Sometimes the signs are obvious: he was never on time, she was disengaged and unhappy, he didn’t get along well with coworkers, she just couldn’t do the job. But sometimes the signs are less obvious: she never spoke up in meetings, he asked for a raise he didn’t get, she wanted something more than the job could give. In fact, 33% of employees knew whether they would stay with their company long term after their first week.

But it doesn’t have to be a guessing game, for coworkers or managers, if you build a feedback loop with your employees and analyze what are the most common reason for employees leaving…they may surprise you!

They’re totally stressed out.

Is your workplace making your employees sick? It’s possible. Around 33% of people feel they are living with extreme stress. Most companies don’t spend the time they should training and onboarding new employees or asking them if they’re even remotely happy in the position. If your onboarding process stops after taking them to lunch on their first day at work, you should ensure that stress isn’t eating your workforce alive.

Say Bye! If new employees are unprepared for the work you have waiting for them, they will be stressed. Combat this with…drum roll please…a better onboarding and training process. Onboarding especially can begin before you even send the offer letter, by being honest during the interview and hiring process. If the job you are hiring for is hard, say so. If many people find their skills are not up to the task, be honest about that and start using assessments to see if your candidates are right for the job. And take a look at how you can better prepare quality candidates for working at your company. Instead of checking up on them every day for a week, set up weekly touches to make sure they’re handling the stress.

Your employees never see their families.

Does your company subscribe to the work hard philosophy while conveniently forgetting the play hard part? 38% of employees have reported missing life events because of a bad work-life balance. Today’s employees want to see their families, focus on their friends and pursue a life that doesn’t include spreadsheets and WPM. If new employees realize they may never leave the cubicle confines of your office, their risk of leaving in the first few months is sky-high.

Say Bye! Introduce work-flex hours, generous vacation policies and job sharing. You can’t change the workload but you can give employees options when it comes to how and when they do it. Can’t do that? Try giving them more options about how they dress, how long their lunches can be or perhaps offer one work from home day as an option. Unexpected vacation days as a bonus are always appreciated.

Your workers are BROKE.

Your employees could be ready to leave because of a pay discrepancy. Some 35% of employees will start looking for a new job if they don’t receive a pay raise in the next 12 months. It’s imperative that company leaders check to ensure their compensation is in line with what other companies are offering in the area. While pay won’t always determine whether an employee stays or goes, it will surely cost the company a lot of money to replace that person if and when they do.

Say Bye! Controlling the pay when you don’t control the purse strings is tough. If you’ve already done what you can to advocate for your employees, try alternatives to pay. Rewards and recognition make a huge difference to employees, as do more relaxed working conditions. If you can’t get even a small increase approved, do the math to show your higher-ups what losing this person (or people) could do to productivity, morale and the bottom line. For your employees, share salary data with them so they know they are being paid fairly. Regularly update with salary trends and when offering raises or discussing salary, always determine WHOLE compensation and include vacation, PTO, benefits and more, so your employees get the full picture.

Your people hate you.

Okay, that’s too strong. But it is a huge reason people quit. It’s actually the number one reason people quit their jobs. They just have an untenable relationship with their team leader, manager or supervisor. For many of us, this is a tale as old as time; we can all identify with having a terrible manager drive us away from a job. But when the shoe is on the other foot, how do we become managers that people want to work hard for, instead of run away from?

Say Bye! First, you better recognize. No really, recognition is the number one driver of employee engagement. When asked what a leader could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents said “give recognition.” If you refuse to recognize people’s excellent work, you will have retention issues. But just recognizing isn’t enough, you have to also reward your people for a job well done. Once you’ve got it down, spread the good word. Recognition, communication and helping your employees set goals for their career success are all hallmarks of great managers, so make sure you’re doing this to keep your best people!

Your employees don’t know where they’re going.

If you let your employees stagnate in the same place for years, they’re going to leave. People want to achieve new goals, try additional projects and be tasked with exciting new challenges. If they’ve never gotten a promotion, had their new ideas die in committee or are doing arduous and boring work, it’s going to show in the turnover numbers. Nearly $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover.

Say Bye! This is one of the easiest issues to fix! Simply map out the paths within your company and make them clear to all. If you have growth, simply move people out of boring admin into a team lead or more challenging role. Regularly meet with employees to discuss career development and offer learning opportunities to your employees. 53% of Millennials say learning new things or having access to professional development opportunities would make them stay at their job.

People want to advance in their career, have a work-life balance and enjoy the presence of their leaders. Whether it’s learning a new skillset, exploring new responsibilities, or getting a title change, all employees have goals. Managers need to be keyed in on those goals and employee’s needs. Am I missing something important you think should be brought to light? Leave a comment and let us know!

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