Why do employees leave?

If you’re anything like most successful leaders, you might often think to yourself:

I know I’m a great leader and business owner, so why do some of my best employees decide to leave the company?

It’s frustrating.

I get it.

And it’s hard to know what to do.

Especially if you’re working hard to give staff growth opportunities, benefits, and pay.

But it takes digging a bit deeper to understand what’s really at play when someone quits a company.

Why do employees leave?

According to the Harvard Business Review, “In general, people leave their jobs because they don’t like their boss, don’t see opportunities for promotion or growth, or are offered a better gig (and often higher pay); these reasons have held steady for years.”

Over time with my clients, I’ve learned that the top reasons employees leave a company are:

  • Poor relationship with their boss or leader
  • They feel unchallenged or not invigorated with their work
  • Their relationships with coworkers
  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Lack of feeling like they’re contributing to the company’s successes
  • Personal and/or professional fulfilment
  • Work culture
  • Recognition and appreciation for a job well done
  • Desire to feel more autonomous, creative, or independent

Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list.

Get a grasp on why employees may leave your company

While the list above mentions the most common reasons someone may leave a company, it’s not all-inclusive and it doesn’t mean that someone won’t leave for another reason.

For instance, an employee’s significant other may be relocating, or a family status could be changing.

Without a doubt, sometimes a departure is completely out of our control.

So let’s focus on what we can control.

And sometimes that involves asking the tough questions.

We can get a pulse on how our employees are feeling by doing simple rounding or check-in conversations.

We can also lead these conversations in performance reviews and other one-on-one settings.

Asking a simple question like, “Are you happy in your position?” opens the dialogue to hear how that employee really feels.

It gives them a chance to share what they’re pleased with, and what they wish to improve.

It’s a golden opportunity.

We can also ask employees after they’ve left.

If your company has an exit survey process, then you already have this in place.

If not, I urge you to set up survey or interview questions for employees, asking why they left and their overall feelings of working for your company (more on this next week).

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson

At the end of the day, we want to treat our employees the very best we can. Not just to retain our staff, but because it’s the right thing to do, and because it impacts our business results.

In this way, how you treat employees causes a true trickle down effect.

How much you understand your employees has a direct impact on how likely they are to stay with your company… and how likely they’ll produce results that drive your business forward.

If you want a company culture that fosters retainment and high performance, check out this month’s culture guide, ‘Beyond Work Hard, Play Hard’. I promise, this is one you don’t want to miss.

Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!