Why do Employees Quit?

If you’re as familiar with LinkedIn as we are (and you should be), you’ve become quite accustomed to seeing change. It’s become standard to see not one, or two, but many people in your network changing jobs. It seems like every day you log in to LinkedIn you’re met with; “congratulate this person on starting a new position”. 


On the surface, this seems positive (and most often it is - for the employee, at least), but have you ever stopped to wonder why people move so often? Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Now why would they leave THAT job, it seems like a dream?” Us too. So we dove into some research to figure out a couple of key questions.


First, why do good people leave good jobs? More importantly, why/how do some leaders end up giving employees the reason to leave? We all know that (good) employees are your business’ most valuable asset.

In fact, employees leaving costs time and money. Training new employees takes time and money, too - it would make sense to save both by only having to train once. In order to avoid making costly mistakes that encourage high turnover, it’s important to keep employees happy.


Here are the top 5 motivators that keep employees in a job. Knowing and understanding how these could work in your business will help you to keep your retention rates high.


#1 – Work Life Balance:

First (and often the biggest motivator to leave or stay) is work-life balance. The time spent working and the sacrifices made for work are shifting - people have seen what an overworked society looks like and they’re moving away from living just to work. Something as easy as flexible scheduling can allow someone to set their day as needed around the requirements of work and home life. This is shown to increase productivity and happiness, therefore reducing stress. Stress-free happy employees… tell me that isn’t what you are looking for! Not to mention it costs less - sick days, leaves of absence, and lost productivity are very real side-effects of an overworked team and an imbalanced workload.


#2 - Career Development:

It’s been scientifically proven that accomplishments help to boost self-esteem, promote further self-development, and encourage a sense of pride in oneself that inevitably translates to a sense of pride in work. Doesn’t accomplishment and achievement feel good? Having goals, or targets to work toward, motivate employees to continue to learn, but they also help employers by setting clear expectations and milestones. The sheer act of meeting goals improves employee self-esteem and happiness - even if they don’t necessarily relate directly to their day-to-day work. It’s important to help people keep moving forward. Feeling “stagnant” is often mentioned in exit interviews.


#3 – Personal Well-Being:

Sometimes a symptom of a lack of the above two is our third category: personal well-being. Good employers and the ones at the cutting edge of HR innovation understand that life happens and work should fit around it. Mental and physical well-being are critical precursors to how happy your employees are and a pretty accurate predictor of retention rates. Offering incentive packages such as yoga classes, meditation at lunch, or discounts at local gyms goes a long way to show you care. Equally as important, being flexible and understanding when employees are going through a hard time, and being earnest about it, builds loyalty. Happy employees are productive and more likely to stay - especially if they perceive that management truly cares about them.


#4 – Salary & Benefits:

Financials are a critical part of everyday life. Salary and benefits are crucial in employee retention. 35% of employees look for a new job if they don’t receive a raise in the first 12 months. It makes sense - this is when employees are working their hardest, learning the most, and often banking overtime to impress management. Compliments and positive reinforcement are nice, but accolades don’t pay the WIFI bills.

Unpaid sick leave? Also a big red flag. Not only do employees lose money but they feel uncared for. Vacation time should also be a part of any employment package - people like feeling taken care of. They’ll stay where they feel financially secure and appreciated. There should be clear plans in place for career progression and salary increases so that expectations are clear on both sides.


#5 – Bad Management:

Last, but definitely not least, bad management. Businesses should have a thorough training program in place for all management, to ensure equal treatment of all employees, and professional behaviour at all times. Moral and ethical policies must be made clear, followed at all times, and occasionally re-evaluated to ensure that people feel like they are treated well and respect management. A confidential reporting system will help all employees feel comfortable and confident that issues will be addressed, no matter who the problem is, even the CEOs nephew or new girlfriend.


When you look at these, it seems like common sense. Treat employees like people and they’ll want to work for you. It’s too bad that this ‘move’ to a better work environment didn’t happen sooner - many an unhappy employee would have found been avoided, and many a fiscal loss mitigated. Plus, reputation means something, especially in the age of Twitter and Instagram.


If you need help finding new stars to keep in your business we run thorough screening processes with all new candidates to guarantee the good people. If you need any more reason why we break down those processes for you here. 


- Blog written by KAN Management - April 29th, 2019