One of the best things that you can do as an employer, for the continued success of your business from a recruitment and staff retention perspective, is to find out why employees are leaving.
It always happens. Every business has a staff turnover rate, though some are better than others.
When someone hands in their notice, finding out why could be the key to discovering something that’s wrong within your business – a team leader that people aren’t happy with, workloads that are too demanding or an office location that is causing commute issues, for example.
Alternatively, someone could be leaving for a job at a different company. Why? What are they doing better? Why is working for them more appealing than working for you?
If you know why someone is leaving then you’ll possess valuable information that could boost your business, or might help you recruit and keep the best staff members.
Here are the top 10 reasons that people quit their jobs:
1: Not feeling valued
One of the easiest things to fix, but something that’s prevalent in many companies, is the issue of undervalued employees.
Workers want to feel that they’re making a positive contribution and, more importantly, that what they do is appreciated.
Interestingly, this doesn’t mean providing grand rewards or salary boosts (though nobody is going to complain if they’re offered one!). Often, a simple ‘thank you’ is all that is needed to change someone’s perspective.
2: Poor management
If employees don’t feel that they’re being managed effectively, they may look for jobs elsewhere.
People don’t always get along. You can’t be friends with everyone. Unfortunately, if an individual is struggling to connect with their manager then there will be difficulties in the workplace.
If multiple people are finding one manager particularly difficult to work with, then this might indicate a bigger issue.
Sometimes, the opposite is the problem. A manager can be a good friend to everyone on their team, but might turn out not to be so good at delegating, communicating and keeping projects on track.
3: Lack of progression opportunities
Many of your employees will want to feel like they’ve still got a bit of climbing room. They’ll want to work hard, then be rewarded with promotions and pay rises.
New challenges are valued. It can be hard for workers to feel that they’re trapped at their current level, with no room to grow and improve. They might be tempted to leave for somewhere that will offer them a chance to continue climbing the ladder.
Be careful! Some employees are happy in their current positions and will not want to progress. Promising promotion opportunities to these employees is just as likely to make them quit. You need to know what each employee wants, which means that you will have to discuss goals in reviews and appraisals.
Remember that a lack of progression ambition does not indicate a lazy or unmotivated worker. Some people are simply happy with their current level of responsibility.
4: Work/life imbalance
A good work/life balance is more important than ever, now that we are connected 24/7 using laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Be prepared for the possibility that a valuable employee could hand in their notice because they’re not getting enough time with their children.
Sometimes, no amount of money is worth early mornings, hours spent travelling, a long day at work, hours travelling home and a rushed dinner before bed, ready to start all over again. People need, want and value their free time, which is why employers have to value it as well.
Many employees are finding workarounds that benefit everyone, offering on-site facilities such as gyms, coffee shops, childcare facilities and customised office spaces, to bring the work/life balance into the workplace.
5: Lack of belief in the business
If you believe in your business and any plans for the future, make sure that this belief is travelling down the line to each and every worker in the business. Share your goals and dreams, along with your plans for achieving them.
If an employee doesn’t feel committed to the same goals, or if they can’t see the company’s future, they might jump ship for an alternative employment opportunity.
6: Broken promises
The word ‘promise’ doesn’t have to feature in what you’re saying, for an employee to build an expectation.
Be careful about what you say. If there’s a chance that you won’t keep up with your commitments, don’t make them in the first place.
There is a lot of value in annual appraisals and pay reviews, but if people are left waiting then they can become disheartened. When April rolls around, an employee is excited about the possibility of a salary increase and nobody finds time to meet with them, then this could be enough to make them leave the company.
7: Colleague clashes
Good conversation, and a workplace environment in which people feel that they’re amongst friends, can make all the difference to job satisfaction.
If an employee spends every day clashing with a colleague, because they don’t get on or have very different opinions about how the work should be done, then there’s a disaster waiting to happen.
You might want to step in and mediate. If you can’t identify the problem and help to solve it, then there’s a good chance that someone will be leaving.
Sadly, in many cases these frictions are caused by one employee not pulling their weight. Unfortunately, it’s often the harder worker that gets tired and quits before the one that’s enjoying an easy ride.
Employees that are managed in a restrictive way tend to feel that they’re not trusted.
Being free to make their own decisions can make employees happier, can increase their feelings of worth in the workplace and can keep them with you for longer.
Don’t be tempted to control each and every small aspect of a project, insisting that things are done a certain way. You might find that, with a little more freedom, your employees are very creative and effective.
9: Lack of work enjoyment
Personal tastes and preferences change, at every stage of life.
Some people start a degree course at university, only to graduate three years later with the realisation that they no longer want to follow that career path.
Some people decide after decades in the workplace that they’re ready for something new, whilst others spend six months in a role and realise that they’ve made a mistake.
There are very few things that you can do to retain and employee with a different path in mind, but it might be worth seeing what alternative jobs you can offer if you would really like to keep them within your business.
10: Money issues
You might think that money issues are the main drivers behind decisions to quit, but they’re actually less of an issue than personal factors.
Of course nobody wants to feel that they’re drastically underpaid for the work that they do, though people are not as likely as you’d think to leave for a higher rate of pay. Employees will be willing to stick around if they believe in the company, have friends amongst their colleagues and feel that they’re treated well.
Money issues become more of a concern when an employee is struggling to manage financially, when they feel that they’re missing out on promised pay reviews or when they’re earning a lot less than others that are doing similar work.
What can you do to find out why employees are leaving?
A proactive approach is best. Look for signs of unhappiness. Listen to what your employees are saying, whether they’re coming to you specifically or there are murmurs around the office.
It’s best if you can solve problems before they lead to someone handing in their notice. Once they’ve reached that stage, they can’t usually be brought back.
If someone is leaving, invite them to a one-to-one meeting. This is your opportunity to ask them for the reasons behind their choice.
Many people won’t be honest, for fear of getting a bad reference or because they don’t feel comfortable put on the spot, but you may pick up a few valuable gems that can help you to shape your company’s future.