Leaving a business is not a decision most employees take lightly, but yet so many businesses find themselves losing good employees and don’t know why. There are many different reasons why an employee may leave a company, but here are the top 12 reasons why good employees quit.
1. Lack of Independence and Autonomy
Even the best employees who respect and trust their employers have a desire to be creative and think for themselves. No employee wants to be micromanaged or feel like their boss doesn’t trust them, but so many workers lack autonomy in their positions. Despite how much the modern workforce has changed, there are still so many employers out there who are afraid to give their teams autonomy because they’re afraid their employees won’t do their best work. The reality is a good employee will usually do a better job and will be more productive when given the chance to work independently.
2. No Future at the Company
While there may be some employees who are content staying in their current positions for the long haul, most good employees want to feel like there’s an opportunity for growth at their job. Take inventory of the frequency at which employees are promoted at your company, and if it doesn’t happen often or ever, think about how that looks to your team. No one wants to feel like they’re at a dead-end job that isn’t going anywhere. Make sure your employees know there are opportunities for advancement, and make the path for how to get there clear to them.
3. Promoting the Wrong People
In the same way that no one wants to believe there’s no opportunity for advancement in their current job, no employee wants to see the wrong person get promoted either. When you see the wrong person get promoted over and over again, it can be disheartening. Employees with a strong work ethic will celebrate those who advance when it feels like they earned it. When their negative coworker who constantly slacks off gets promoted over them, that’s enough to make any good employee start searching for another job. Keep giving opportunities for your team to advance, but be selective about who gets the promotions.
4. Poor Management
Micromanagement is not the only type of management that affects employees in a negative way. It’s true that no employee wants a manager who looks over their shoulder too often, but no employee wants to have a manager who doesn’t manage at all either. Being a great manager means striking a balance between being too involved and not being involved enough with your team, and finding that balance can be a challenge for even the best leaders.
5. Feeling Overworked
Stress is a major issue for many employees, especially those with a great work ethic who want to get the job done right. Good employees tend to be the ones who not only stay late to make sure their responsibilities are taken care of, but they also are willing to pick up the slack when their coworkers lack the same work ethic. The employees with a strong work ethic are usually the ones who are given more responsibilities, and their employers don’t usually realize when it’s too much to handle since good employees handle it so well. However, those extra hours and tasks add up, and when all of the responsibilities feel too heavy, the stress can burn out even the most resilient employees.
6. Lack of Support
Especially when it comes to stress and burn out, it’s important for an employee to feel like they’re supported by their employer. A good employee will want to improve and will be open to hearing feedback, but lack of support is one of the top reasons why good employees leave their jobs. Lack of support means an employee doesn’t have a safety net to fall back on, and they may feel uncomfortable approaching their employee about the challenges they’re facing. If your team feels supported, they’ll challenge themselves to get better and learn new things but if your team doesn’t feel supported, you may lose some good employees who will look for support somewhere else.
7. Work/Life Balance
Work/life balance is a hot topic in today’s workforce, especially with so many companies offering flexible hours or allowing their employees to work from home. Unfortunately, many employees still feel like there is no appreciation for work/life balance at their jobs. A good employee may leave their position if they feel like they’re missing out on their personal life because of work. Showing your employees you believe their time outside of the workplace is valuable means they will continue to show up and work hard.
8. Unhealthy Work Environment
An unhealthy work environment can completely destroy a good employee. Considering the number of hours a full-time employee spends at work, it’s important for their workplace to be comfortable, inviting, and clean. Simple gestures such as designating a comfortable place for employees to chat, eat, and relax together on their breaks means your team can take a mental break and then go back to work feeling recharged. Workspaces that are cluttered, unclean, or uninviting can wear on your team’s mental health and may push them to find a better environment.
9. Company Culture
As an employer, you can’t always control what your team does, but your employees notice what you let them get away with. Creating a company culture within your team that reflects positive values and a strong work ethic is an essential part of maintaining good employees. When half of your team comes in late every day or takes an extra-long lunch break with no repercussions, those who are working diligently may feel like their work ethic is not appreciated. Your employees should be given flexibility when it’s appropriate, but if you don’t make the values and procedures clear, the morale of your team will suffer.
10. Lack of Appreciation
You may appreciate your employees that get the job done right, but if you never show them or tell them, remember they can’t read your mind! Lack of appreciation and recognition is one of the top reasons good employees leave a company. Taking the time to appreciate your employees is so important that an employee who feels appreciated is actually more likely to stick around than an employee who is just paid more. Appreciation can be shown in many ways, but don’t assume your team knows you appreciate them if you haven’t told them.
11. Office Politics
Office politics can be a tricky and sometimes dirty business. Although there are employees who live for office politics, those aren’t the good employees that we’re worried about losing. Typically good employees are the ones who try not to get involved in office politics, but it doesn’t mean the politics don’t affect them. The gossip and sometimes backstabbing that can happen among employees can be hard for anyone to avoid, so make sure you look for signs that your employees aren’t getting along and remind your team often of the company values you expect them to adhere to.
12. Changes in Personal Life
Although there are many situations in which you can control whether a good employee leaves or not, there will always be some situations you can’t control. Sometimes a change in an employee’s personal life is why they choose to leave a company, and whether it’s a recent engagement or a move, the unfortunate reality is that things do change and there’s nothing we can do about that. Build relationships with your employees so you’ll know when something changes, and if they have no choice but to leave, be sure to send them off with a glowing recommendation.
There may be times when you can’t keep a good employee from leaving, but there are also a lot of ways to prevent losing good employees. If you pay attention to what makes good employees leave their jobs, you can work on creating a culture and environment that makes strong, ethical employees want to stay.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.