10 Reasons Top Employees Quit

If it feels like you’re spending a lot of time and money on recruiting these days, you’re right. Hiring has never been as hot. Today, people are quitting at a rate equivalent to 30 percent turnover a year, a number that’s not sustainable. 76 percent of employees are either actively looking or open to new job opportunities, and no wonder in a market of talent scarcity where candidates rule. Executives say talent is their number one business issue, and yet 50 percent of new hires fail within the first year. Recruiting and retention are equally crucial to growth and we seem to be failing at both.

There are many reasons why people quit their jobs and some of them you have no control over, like moving across country or overseas, changing careers or retiring, or going back to school. But the majority of reasons people quit relate to your workplace environment, which means they are under your control. In order to win the war for talent you first need to understand why people quit and then rethink every one of your people strategies and their possibly unintentional consequences.

Following, in reverse order of importance, are 10 top reasons people quit their jobs:

#10. Not Enough Knowledge About Your Financial Stability

This is primarily a matter of trust and respect for management. When sales are down, hours are reduced, people are laid off, salaries or hiring are frozen, turnover goes up, or you’re planning for a merger or acquisition—and you say little or nothing about it, employees begin to feel unstable about their future. And when you finally speak about the issues, they don’t trust what you say. Keep them in the loop about what’s happening before it happens.

#9. Lack of Empowerment

No one likes a micromanager. Create a work environment with high levels of autonomy and independence that enable employees to pursue and embrace contributions they can be proud of. Let them make decisions.

#8. Work Is Not Meaningful

Today’s employees are looking for meaning in their work. They want to understand the specific contribution they make to your business goals and to make a difference in something bigger than themselves. Direct managers should help employees understand the relevance in what they do and how it connects to the whole. Don’t assume they can make that leap on their own.

#7. Unfair Compensation

It’s never all about money, although most employers think it is and use it as a retention tool. The highly talented, driven, motivated individuals you’ve hired can get a job anywhere, anytime, and they know it. What’s important is that you show you appreciate their value by paying them fairly and, if the budget doesn’t allow you to pay their full worth, provide other forms of compensation, like senior leadership mentoring, bonus vacation time, or whatever seems right and feasible—plus of course a great work environment.

#6. Burnout

It’s common to give extra work to your high performing employees. They do it well, so you give them more, crossing the line from work to overworked—one of the main reasons they quit. There’s a fine line to walk here. Listen to your stars and believe them when they say they can’t sustain the stress. If they do take on additional responsibilities, don’t take advantage of them. Promote them, give them a raise—or both.

#5. Not Enough Learning & Development Opportunity

Passion for work is stifled when employees’ ideas are set aside, and they’re told to simply focus on the tasks they’re given. Top performers thrive on new challenges and chances to learn. Offer them rich development opportunities like shadowing leaders and learning new technical skills that move them a step closer to advancement. Listen to their professional goals and set them on a path to reach them.

#4. Boredom

Talented people thrive on being pushed outside of their comfort zones. They’re stimulated when they stretch themselves and work toward challenging goals. They’re quickly bored doing easily accomplished tasks. Give them projects to resolve that aren’t going well and create opportunities to exercise their brains and skills. Motivate them with a path to career growth and promotion.

 #3. Not a Good Fit with Culture

Companies continually hire people based on skills and experience without considering alignment and fit. You can teach skills, but it’s very difficult if not impossible to change attitudes. A full 89 percent of unsuccessful hires result from a lack of coachability and irreconcilable temperament. You can save costs and prevent trauma for you and your new employees by assessing for cultural fit before you make job offers.

 #2. Poor Relationships with Boss or Coworkers

People usually leave managers, not companies. Bad bosses are a primary reason for turnover. You may have a positive overall culture, but the culture employees experience every day is the one created by their boss. Employees and their bosses don’t need to be friends, but they need to have a positive and respectful working relationship. Toxic relationships with bosses or coworkers impact productivity, engagement, and morale and should never be glossed over. They’re costly to everyone in the organization.

#1. Lack of Appreciation & Recognition for Performance

79 percent of employees say feeling unappreciated was a major reason why they quit.

Feeling appreciated and being recognized for the work they do is particularly important to top performers, who often take on higher stakes work. It doesn’t take much to make people feel good; a simple thank you, a line on a card, or mention at a team meeting can do a lot to lift the spirits. But so many managers don’t bother. Leadership should make both informal appreciation and formal recognition a priority and it should be part of every manager’s learning & development.

“TalenTrust has the ability to source the perfect people. Their method is about understanding our culture, our goals, our mission, and finding people who align with us in all of these aspects.”

Linda Jeschofnig CEO, Hands-On Labs