10 Reasons Why Employees Leave, and What You Can Do To Keep Them

Have you ever wondered why some of your best employees leave? You pay competitive salaries and offer some great perks, yet some of your most promising employees are leaving you. If your people are looking elsewhere, then something has prompted that decision. Being aware of possible reasons why employees leave could help you not just to retain talent, but get the best from everyone.

1. Relationship with their line manager

If the relationship between an employee and their line manager is not a positive one, it’s very likely that the employee will leave. It may be poor leadership, different personalities, previous experience, or a clash of values. Developing soft skills such as empathy, communication and self-awareness could help strengthen working relationships.

2. Boredom

If a job role isn’t challenging enough, or it’s just become stagnant, employees will seek new adventures elsewhere. Whilst some are happy with comfort and familiarity, there’s a good chance that your best talent will be looking for something that challenges and excites them as they follow their passions. Find out what people want and keep them interested and engaged.

3. Workplace relationships

Office politics, team dynamics and relationships with co-workers are common reasons for people leaving jobs where they would otherwise be happy. Work with your team to create a positive culture, encourage open communication, build self-awareness and don’t allow cliques to develop.

4. Not using their skills

If employees don’t feel they have opportunities to use their unique skills and abilities, they’ll seek those opportunities with your competition instead. Also, if people don’t feel they are given chances to develop their skills further, they’re unlikely to stay with you. Again, communication and enabling open conversations will help you discover your employees’ unique talents so you can provide the right opportunities. You’ll also be getting much more from your people as they become more engaged in their work and use their skills for the benefit of your business.

5. Autonomy

Show your employees that you trust them by enabling autonomy and independence whenever possible. Employees who feel trusted by you will not only be motivated to do their best work but will build confidence to make choices and decisions independently. Set clear objectives, be available when needed, delegate at a level that works for you and your team, then take a step back and watch your employees grow.

6. Contribution to the bigger picture

Human beings value connection, and we need to know how we are contributing to the bigger picture. This could be letting people know how their individual tasks contribute to team goals, to organisational goals, or to the client experience. Beyond the organisation, how do your employees’ efforts make a difference to the world? Showing your employees the importance of their contribution helps to build a stronger sense of purpose.

7. Stability and security

Times of organisational change or uncertainty, or instability on a national or global scale could send employees looking for security elsewhere. Change at work can be difficult, although manageable, but financial insecurity or organisational changes that could affect people’s lives beyond the workplace are far more difficult. Ensure that people are given opportunities to voice concerns, and given sufficient support through times of change.

8. Company culture

Another one of the main reasons for leaving. If the culture doesn’t fit with the employee’s personal values or has become unhealthy, then employees will seek a more positive and personally aligned experience elsewhere. Work with your leaders and teams to build a positive, healthy culture.

9. Recognition

You may have a recognition program in place, but does it really fit your employees’ needs? Most people would rather have regular recognition from their line manager and peers, than ‘Employee of the Month’ schemes or other employee rewards. Encourage peer recognition and embed positive feedback as part of the culture. Also provide opportunities for personal and professional development, so employees can feel valued and accomplished without needing external validation.

10. Life circumstances

Sometimes it’s not about work at all. People’s lives and priorities can change and cause them to look for a job that fits these new circumstances. Moving to a new area, changes in a partner’s employment, financial changes, health, or changing arrangements with children are just a few of the reasons. These may be beyond your control as an employer, but if you encourage open conversations between managers and their teams, these issues could be brought to light and you might be able to offer a solution. Flexible working, part-time hours, or offering home working could save you from losing your best people to changes in life circumstances.

Now is a great time to take a look at the morale and engagement of your employees. Have conversations, don’t rely on surveys and tick-box exercises, and it might just save you from losing some of your best people.

We run employee wellbeing programs that enable your people to share confidentially whatever is on their minds. Get in touch to find out how this might help you to retain your best people and reduce absence.

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