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7 Reasons Employees Quit and How to Stop Them

December 19, 2023 3 Min Read Article, Retained Executive Search
Adam Berman
Adam Berman Director-in-Charge, Retained Executive Search

Daily, I interview professionals ranging from seasoned executives to those in the early stages of their careers. I delve into the reasons these folks contemplate leaving their current jobs. Regardless of industry, business size, or job title, I've observed that the motivations behind quitting often fall into similar categories. There is no real mystery to unravel as to why employees leave. 

Below are the most consistent reasons people share for leaving their jobs and some crucial ideas for fostering retention and employee engagement.

  1. Limited Job Satisfaction:
    • Employees who don't find their work fulfilling and enjoyable are prone to seek new opportunities.
    • Job satisfaction, influenced by the nature of the work and the work environment, matters. Offering engaging and challenging tasks aligned with employees' interests contributes significantly to their job satisfaction and engagement.
  2. Negative or Non-Existent Relationships:
    • Relationships with colleagues and supervisors play a pivotal role. A lack of understanding or support from peers contributes to a negative work environment.
    • Create opportunities for building strong interpersonal connections but pay careful attention to the challenges that exist in remote and hybrid environments.  These opportunities must be regular and consistent for the relationships to flourish.
  3. No Career Advancement Opportunities and No Continuous Learning:
    • Employees seek growth and advancement opportunities. Clear paths for promotion and ongoing professional development foster long-term commitment.
    • Even in "terminal" positions, employees value learning opportunities, tackling new challenges, and exploring their curiosities.
  4. Lack of Recognition and Appreciation:
    • Feeling unrecognized and underappreciated is a common precursor to employees contemplating quitting.
    • Regular "micro acknowledgments" are impactful and should supplement the traditional "employee of the month/quarter/year" moments.
  5. Unsustainable Work-Life Balance:
    • Overworked teams are at risk of losing members. Periods of hard work and long hours might be inevitable, but when this becomes the norm, you will lose your best people. 
    • Setting realistic goals and maintaining accountability and a healthy work-life balance are essential for employee retention.
  6. Below Industry Compensation and Benefits:
    • If your salary and benefits packages are below industry norms, you will eventually lose your crucial employees. Then the Pied Piper effect will start to take hold as others learn where their efforts will be rewarded more handsomely.
    • You do not have to be in the top 10 percent in this category, but organizations that offer fair compensation, attractive benefits, and incentives are more likely to retain their workforce.
  7. Negative Organizational Reputation:
    • A negative industry or community reputation prompts employees to consider leaving.
    • Organizations must communicate and live their values consistently, both internally and externally.

Here are three simple ideas to communicate to your team to keep them engaged: 

  1. Organizational Purpose: Clearly communicate why the organization exists.
  2. Role Contribution: Explain how each role contributes to the organization's purpose.
  3. Individual Importance: Talk regularly with your team as fellow human beings (not just as employees) and share why they matter to you. 

Understanding and working on these points contribute to a work environment that retains team members and promotes employee satisfaction. Regular feedback, professional development opportunities, and a focus on overall well-being will reduce turnover. By nurturing a workplace that aligns with employees' values and needs, organizations can build a foundation for long-term success.

Contact the Author

Adam Berman

Adam Berman

Director-in-Charge, Retained Executive Search

Retained Executive Search Specialist

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