People leave jobs for a variety of reasons. Some are within an organization’s control, and some just aren’t. Attrition is a nightmare for HR departments and can hurt businesses. Hiring, training, and replacing people that have left jobs can be costly. With the current crunch in the talent market, it can be difficult to get the right people too.
Productivity gets hit, morale drops, costs go up, and worse, if many people are leaving your company, your brand image gets affected too.
Before we get into the intricacies of why people leave jobs, let’s first understand why we need to know the reasons.
Why it’s important to know why people leave their jobs
According to Pew Research Center, 63% of employees that quit the previous year said they just weren’t getting paid enough. A whopping 57% of people said they left their jobs because they didn’t get enough respect.
1. Reduce chances of people leaving jobs
The most obvious answer is that you will be able to reduce attrition rates. If you know why people leave their jobs, you will be able to make changes to ensure they stay. If you can create a better work environment and give employees what they want, within reason, you may be able to stop them from leaving their jobs. Any experienced business person is aware that one key player leaving can be extremely disruptive to a business.
2. Strengthen retention strategies
Exit interviews and exit forms allow businesses to understand why their people are leaving. This will give you enough data to understand their reasons. If the reasons stated are within a company’s control, you can work towards making improvements.
3. Build a stronger HR strategy
Knowing why people leave jobs will allow your HR team to create better strategies. This information is important for all aspects of the HR strategy, right from recruiting to work approaches.
Employees leaving a company doesn’t just create a void in terms of talent, it can also be extremely costly to replace them with someone of equal capability.
A study conducted a few years ago revealed that it could cost up to US $ 17,000 to replace one employee. That figure is an average, which means that filling specialist roles could cost a fortune. Knowing why people leave jobs helps you cut down on unforeseen costs or at the very least, allows you to plan for costs.
Top 10 reasons people leave jobs
The talent pool within an organization is, without doubt, its greatest resource. One that you must protect, defend, and fight for.
Broadly speaking, there are two attitudes towards retaining employees, “I’ll hire someone else to fill that seat.” The other is, “I know the value this person adds to my team. I’ll find the most sensible way to make sure they grow with my organization.”
The latter is no doubt the more logical approach. You invest in someone when you hire them, train them, and impart knowledge to them over time. They learn every day and use that knowledge to help your business grow. The investment isn’t just what you pay them. You invest time, effort, industry knowledge, and on some level, a small part of you.
Let’s look at a few reasons why people leave jobs for greener pastures. Keep in mind that this list isn’t ranked. You should attempt to resolve all these issues if your employees are facing them.
1. A feeling of exploitation
Performance and productivity have always been a priority for organizations, but at what cost? Employees expect to be pushed, sometimes. There are situations where businesses ask employees to put in an extra hour or two or work a little harder towards achieving a goal, and that’s fine.
When it becomes an operating standard, it isn’t. Your workforce cannot work under constantly strenuous conditions, and they cannot be asked to push their limits every day. This often happens when employees exhibit a willingness to work hard, especially if they are one of your top performers. While some people thrive under some pressure and love the challenge of meeting deadlines, you don’t want to make the mistake of burning them out.
They will eventually realize that it isn’t sustainable to keep working so hard. Not only will they be more open to other opportunities, but even if they stay around, their performance will drop.
2. Bad managers
We have all heard the saying: people leave bad managers, not bad jobs. A DDI study established that 57% of people that leave jobs leave them because of their managers. This could be easy to cross off as a talent issue, but is it? Let’s look at these factors:
The manager knows all: This cannot be true. If it is, you haven’t hired the right people to support your managers. While your managers may be experts in their respective domains, you must ask if you have made an effort to ensure that their leadership skills improve as their responsibilities increase.
Tenure equals managerial position: This is a common occurrence. Employees that stay long enough in a company usually end up being managers. Could their skills have been made better use of? Did you equip them with the knowledge and skills to transition from, say, a software developer to a manager of a team of developers?
Results trump poor practice: Some people just have that ability to get things done, which can work well for a company until a certain point. Managers can’t expect employees to remain loyal if ‘hook or crook’ is the approach to achieving goals.
3. Lack of flexibility
In recent times, this has been peddled as the main reason people want to leave their jobs. There is some merit in people wanting to move into remote work roles. But, they aren’t just looking for jobs that allow them to have more free time for themselves and be able to pursue alternate career paths. People are even willing to walk away from full-time jobs to freelance or work part-time. They want autonomy; they want to be in control of what they do and how they do it.
4. Promises, Promises
If a team member makes a commitment, you expect them to keep it. It works the other way too. If you make commitments to your team, live up to them. It is not only unethical, you also show that you don’t value your employees enough to stick to your word. Further, it shows that you don’t care about how they feel.
5. Poor growth
Lack of growth or lack of opportunity for growth is often a primary factor in employees looking for success elsewhere. If they don’t see a defined path before them, they will find one somewhere else.
An organization’s culture plays a role in how long employees stick around. Opacity, lack of direction, poor communication, and closed-door management styles drive employees away.
7. People want to feel valued
A large part of valuing an employee is recognizing their efforts, rewarding them, and ensuring they are motivated to continue putting in effort. If they don’t feel appreciated, people will leave their jobs.
8. People want happiness
People aren’t just looking to make ends meet. They want to live a quality life. If we only live once, we deserve at least that much. Employees that aren’t happy with their jobs or inspired by them will leave.
9. Better pay elsewhere
This is an obvious one, better-paying jobs tend to attract good talent. If your employees don’t feel like they are being financially rewarded for their efforts, they will find better pay elsewhere.
10. No learning
This doesn’t just refer to learning and development. If you stay in a role long enough, you eventually become so good at it that you reach a point of saturation. People leave jobs that don’t challenge them in one way or another.
How you can retain your employees
If knowing the problem is half the solution, there you have it. You now know what not to do. Here are a few essential tips to make your employees stick around:
- More workload should mean higher pay, better perks, and maybe even a promotion. Remember, there is only so much one person can do. If you are putting too much on one person, you need to consider better hiring practices to ensure you have enough talent to handle the workload.
- Prioritize manager training in areas such as leadership training, people management skills, work allocation, goal setting, and priorities.
- Stick to what you say, always. Living up to your promises shows employees that you care, value, respect, and look out for them.
- Be flexible, and allow remote or hybrid work options. Let your employees have moderately flexible work hours, when possible, and give them time off when they need it.
- Practice making autonomy a part of your culture. Employees that are empowered will take responsibility for their actions. This directly leads to better quality output.
- Keep your workforce engaged and inspired. Activities aren’t enough. Make employee engagement a priority and give them valid reasons to want to work for you.
- Create achievable and actionable career plans. This ensures employees know what their future with you looks like.
- Make feedback and transparency a cultural norm. Communicating openly and effectively doesn’t just happen. It takes time, effort, and consistency.
- Be clear with all your communication. This goes for everything, right from assigning responsibilities to goal-setting.
- Be sincere about recognizing your team’s contribution, and make sure they know how much you appreciate their efforts. Rewards and recognition programs are a great way to do this.
- Get personal. This doesn’t mean that all your employees have to become your closest friends. Rather, get to know what is going on in their lives and get to know what their aspirations are.
- Promote work-life balance. People have personal needs and desires. Attempt to align personal goals with professional ones. This will motivate employees further.
Retaining talent is essential to the success of your business. Get the right tools and reliable support from Mesh to make sure your people don’t leave their jobs. While keeping employee churn to a minimum can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be. Leverage cutting-edge tech and automation to create the best place for your team to work.