Most people change their employment or career many times, so the top 10 reasons for leaving a job are probably familiar to you. It’s a rare person who stays in one job for the majority of their adult life. However, as a manager, realizing why people move on helps you to fix problems and keep the employee turnover rate low.
Your employees are your greatest asset. Find out what frustrates them and what affects their decision to stay or leave. Then, use that power to create a place where they are more likely to want to be.
Recognizing the Top 10 Reasons for Leaving a Job
There are plenty of reasons that people move on to different employment opportunities. Some of these have nothing to do with the workplace itself, such as following a spouse’s relocation or having a child. However, the Top 10 Reasons for Leaving a Job that people leave their jobs are often preventable.
Negative or Inefficient Management
The majority of people want to do their job well. Producing high-quality work feels good and paves the way for a positive career future. However, when bad management continues to get in the way, this is quite difficult.
Many people who leave their jobs say that they aren’t quitting their job, they’re quitting their boss. Yikes.
It makes you think twice (or more) about how you treat your employees and the culture you create. Ponder these questions:
- Are most of your interactions with employees constructive?
- Do team members seek you out for advice and help?
- Do you know people’s names and details about their lives?
- Do people tell others about opportunities to work at your company?
You want to keep highly valued team members on board. Hopefully, you’ve invested in them and shown that they bring good things to the table. If you want them to stay around, recognize that you might be one of the deciding factors.
Even the most talented people have limits. There are only so many hours in a day, and human beings are just that—human.
Oftentimes, managers give their most effective employees the most difficult assignments because they can depend on high-quality work. However, this is a perfect recipe for burnout.
Let’s say that you think an employee completed their last project over and above expectations. So, you give them something more advanced as a way of saying, “I believe in you.” However, they see this as salt in the wound of an exhausting task when they just want a break.
Advanced responsibilities should always come with advancement opportunities. You expect more of them, so they deserve more recognition. This doesn’t always mean a higher salary, either. It could mean:
- Better benefits
- Exciting perks
- Increased schedule flexibility
- Delegating other lower-level responsibilities to someone else
Show people that you value their time and energy and they are more likely to stick around.
People want to be recognized for their efforts. It begins to seem pointless to go above and beyond if no one sees the extra attention that you put forth.
However, many bosses struggle to give positive affirmations. They don’t want to over-praise, so instead, they under-appreciate.
This is a delicate balance, to be sure. If you’re walking down the halls with pats on the back and “atta boys” given out for simply showing up to work or appearing on task, your words have no value.
Instead, give concrete feedback that applies to each person and situation. For example:
- “The way you handled that difficult client with grace was very professional.”
- “I know it isn’t easy to work in such close quarters. I notice that you’re trying hard to stay focused.”
- “I can always depend on you to deliver thoughtful comments in staff meetings.”
Appreciation can also come in the form of bonuses, flexible hours, and (desirable) increased responsibility.
Employees need and expect things from you as their boss. Most of them only have so much power. They look to you to create a workplace in which they can put forth high-quality, productive work.
A manager who creates a positive workplace means what they say and does what they say they’re going to do. These qualities build trust. Employees don’t spend valuable energy wondering if the follow-through will happen.
When you break promises, it shows disrespect and a lack of empathy. Instead, keep the promises you make. Then, people know that you value them enough to put forth the effort needed to effect positive change.
Toxic Relationships with Colleagues
Company culture is highly dependent on the management. However, lateral colleague relationships are also a big part of workplace interactions. Indeed, people spend more time interacting with those at the same level than they do with their boss.
People want to look forward to going to work. When their job includes friends and fun, they are motivated to show up and bring a positive attitude. Incorporate things such as lunches and after-work happy hours to create an opportunity for connection.
Value friendships and recognize friction. When you see people butting heads, don’t put yours in the sand. Instead, address the issue and offer to help solve it. This might even create a new positive relationship.
Lack of Flexible Scheduling
People have real lives outside of their jobs. They have families, pets, homes, hobbies, and commitments. These create a full life; when people can’t participate in those lives to the fullest, they aren’t fulfilled.
Today’s employees know that flexible scheduling is an option. They see others working remotely, enjoying four-day workweeks, and choosing their hours.
Empower your employees by giving them choices in when and how they deliver their work. As long as everything gets done, morale and welfare can take precedence over hours behind the desk.
No Advancement Opportunity
No one wants to be stuck at the same level, with the same pay, and in the same struggles without an end in sight. People want to feel that their efforts are getting them toward an end goal.
If people don’t see a clear path toward something more, they tend to keep their eyes on what else is out there.
Remember, too, that employees notice what is happening around them. If someone worked hard for years toward promotion and was overlooked or you hired out instead, what’s the point for them to stay? They’ll move on instead of trying again.
Managers are often in positions of leadership because they showed high capability in past positions. Understandably, it’s difficult to let go of power and control and delegate to others.
However, human beings are not machines and can’t be expected to perform exactly the way someone else does. People want freedom and ownership over their work. Allow people creativity in their tasks; they will often show you better ways of doing things than what was done in the past.
It’s good to keep tabs on things. Remember though, that you’re working with capable, intelligent adults who deserve autonomy and choice (just like you do).
Unclear Direction or Goals
People want direction—it helps set a vision for what needs to happen. Sure, freedom and flexibility are nice, but no one wants to put forth hours of work only to hear, “That’s not what was expected.”
Your job is to set forth clear expectations for the requirements. Follow up on progress and ask for feedback, then allow your employees to do things as they see fit.
If company policy or strategy changes, make sure to give ample notice so that people can adjust to change. Change is inevitable; communication around it is most important to employees accepting it with positivity.
Undesirable Company Culture
Company culture is usually intangible—it’s the feeling one gets when one goes to work and engages with the larger community.
People expect a positive culture. This includes:
- Open, honest communication
- Accessible management
- Transparent expectations
- Clear direction
- Respect, appreciation, and empathy
With the evolution of technology and social media, employees can see others enjoying workplaces brimming with positivity, motivation, and deep connection. Who doesn’t want that as part of their daily job? Take it upon yourself to create this, or people will find it somewhere else.
Today’s working generations want to feel empowered. There is so much in the world that we cannot control. If we can control where we work and what is expected of us, that’s a step in the right direction.
The past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic offered up even more opportunities for job choice and flexibility. Businesses that never offered remote work now see that it’s possible and often more profitable. Therefore, more people than ever can choose better jobs without uprooting their lives to move.
Managers who take these social evolutions into perspective and improve their workplaces keep more employees. People have choices, even amidst a possible recession.
Don’t take your chances. Create a positive, engaging workplace that emphasizes high morale and employee wellbeing. Make work a place people want to be and employees will stay with you for the long run.