10 Important Reasons Why Great Employees Quit

Only a few things are as costly, disruptive, and time-consuming for managers and businesses as great employees walking out the door.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, turnover can cost an organisation 33% of an employee’s total compensation, including both salary and benefits. Not only does it impact the financial side of a business, but it negatively affects employee morale as well.

The worst part is that it can all be avoided. But first, business owners must understand what sends their best people packing. That is why we have put together 10 important reasons why great employees quit.


1. A Culture of Work-Life Imbalance

More than 40% of Americans say that their jobs are extremely stressful. Another 70% say that they don’t have a healthy balance between work and their personal life. It’s no secret that employees who work in corporate cultures that do not respect a work-life balance will leave at their first opportunity.

The work-life culture of an organisation is becoming more and more important every day. Providing flexibility to employees (such as a day off or the ability to work from home) will help relieve some of the stress that they are feeling. More importantly, check in with employees frequently to see if they are burnt out and what the company may do to help.


2. The Actual Job is Nothing Like the Job Description

The all-too-common “bait and switch” job description. One of the most frustrating things for new, talented employees is when the job is not as expected. This can lead to immediate feelings of distrust towards the employer, and ultimately, quitting.

Companies must make sure that expectations and duties are clearly written in the job description and to follow through with promises from day one. Again, it’s important to periodically check in with employees to ensure that they are still focused on what they were hired to do.


3. Workplace Commitments are Not Honoured by Managers

A missed meeting or email once in a while will not drive employees to leave the company. But a continual lack of honouring commitments from managers will begin to blur the line that keeps great employees happy.

Maintaining commitments means a great deal in a society where people’s calendars are always full. Even if it’s something as small as replying to an email in a timely manner or returning a phone call when promised, those things go a long way in demonstrating trustworthiness and leadership abilities.


4. There is No Room for Educational Growth

No matter what position or status an employee holds at a company, educational growth is one of the few ways to truly invest in top talent’s future. The fact is, today employees are working for more than just a paycheque; they want to contribute to a company’s success and growth. When you invest in them, you’re investing in a loyal employee.

Educational growth can include additional on-site training, online classes, advanced degrees, certificates, leadership programs, or in-person conferences. Providing paths for growth promotes job satisfaction by nurturing and developing employee skills.


5. There is No Clear Path for Career Growth

The career guessing game is a guaranteed path to leaving for top employees. In addition to building skills through education, your best people want to build their resume and climb the career ladder. New research shows that 6 of out 10 people who left their job within one year did so because a lack of career growth opportunities.

The only true way to identify an employee’s career aspirations is to openly discuss them. Talk to employees and ask them where they see themselves in two, five, or even ten years. Find out how your company can make their career dreams come true.


6. Contributions and Hard Work are Not Recognised or Rewarded

Managers often underestimate the power of a “Great Job” email or an in-person “Thank You.” Being at the top of an organisation makes it easy to forget how hard employees work on a daily basis. How many employees perform great work, but go unnoticed in your organisation?

Managers should ask their employees what makes them happy and then reward them as often as possible. For some it’s a bonus, others, it’s a day off, an award or company-wide recognition. Find out what makes top performers tick and feed the machine.


7. A Lack of Mentoring and Feedback from Managers

The harsh reality is that many people do not leave their job; they leave their manager. Instinctively, many managers know that providing honest feedback is critical for employee success and growth, yet, they fail to provide it as often as they should. The absolute best companies make certain their managers know how to balance managerial and human qualities.

Mentoring and feedback do not always have to be job-related. Sometimes it means empathising with employees when they are going through rough times. It also means challenging them, even when it may hurt to do so. Ensure that mentoring and feedback are a part of your company’s culture.


8. Failing to Challenge Employees as Often as Possible

Talented employees are looking for a challenge and when businesses provide new problems for them to tackle, it greatly improves productivity and job satisfaction. But many companies keep them tied up in the same task day in and day out simply because they are good at it. And while there may be short-term benefits in production, it will eventually result in the employee quitting.

Forget the fear that productivity will decline when you let top employees move into a new role. Studies show that when you make them responsible for new challenges, they are much more productive and happy and perform at a higher level. This productivity will extend to the rest of the team.


9. Failing to Hire and Promote the Right Employees

Few things are more infuriating to a great employee than the wrong person getting hired or promoted. It’s a major insult to employees in the organisation and it’s no wonder why people tend to leave after it happens.

Practice good habits when hiring, and especially when promoting. Recognise those employees who truly deserve the position, not those who have glad-handed their way to the top.


10. Leadership Doesn’t Start from the Top

Finding and retaining great employees starts from the top of the organisation and works its way down. Ultimately, business owners set the tone and form the company culture. A business can have all of the top talent in the world, but if the leader does not lead through his or her actions, it will never resonate with managers and employees.

Find out first-hand through anonymous surveys what the overall company satisfaction is with leadership. You may be surprised by the results. Then, use the information you have to make informed decisions about company culture strategies moving forward.


Final Thoughts

If you want your greatest employees to stay and thrive at your company, you must think strategically about how to engage them. Make them go from employee to advocate.

Please share your thoughts or comments in the section below. We’d love to hear from your experiences as an employee or a business.

10 Important Reasons Why Great Employees Quit