Retention – why employees leave – Why do people leave a job for a better job?

People often lie in exit interviews about why they are leaving. Managers should, of course, know in advance who is leaving and why. A comprehensive list like this is of little value unless you use it as a guide to gather your own information as to why YOUR workers are leaving.

Top Reasons…why people leave their jobs (research results)

Harvard Business Review

  1. Job content
  2. Level of responsibility
  3. Company culture
  4. Caliber of Colleagues
  5. Salary

California Strategic HR
Partnership (CSHRP) Result

  1. Low growth potential
  2. Lack of challenge
  3. Lack of autonomy
  4. Not enough money
  5. Work environment issues

Summary of general reasons why people decide to leave their jobs

Suggested action items are listed after each reason

  1. No one asked them to stay. (lack of personal “suasion”) – Talk to them one-on-one
  2. No one asked then what motivates them – Talk to them one-on-one.
  3. They feel isolated and “in the dark” – Increase communications with your employees.
  4. They are unhappy with the mix of their job responsibilities – Change job responsibilities / and increase their job challenges.
  5. Lifestyle / work-family conflicts – Change their work schedule/location.
  6. A lack of resources or support – Give them direct assistance or additional resources.
  7. A feeling of isolation and lack of recognition – Increase their “exposure” opportunities.
  8. They don’t identify with the organization – Develop common goals / passion/ values / a sense of urgency / and a shared vision.
  9. No personal ties to the team – Develop friendships, relationships, and heroes.
  10. They don’t feel empowered, appreciated or that they are “members/owners” of the organization. – Develop a sense of ownership, identity / belonging / fit, etc., with the dept / product / team.
  11. No compelling vision of the future – Make the future look more promising and the prospects of leaving unpleasant.
  12. No pride in the products/company – Improve our image/reputation.
  13. A lack of authority/control/autonomy – Increase their involvement/participation and control.
  14. Not enough “toys”& great working conditions – Change their physical environment.
  15. Work isn’t fun anymore – Make work fun / make it hard to quit.
  16. Lack of equity – Create a perception of fairness and equity.
  17. No group pressure to stay – Develop a cohesive team.
  18. They don’t feel appreciated or” special” – Make each employee feel special/wanted/needed.
  19. A lack of external pressure to stay – Involves their family and friends.
  20. No prospects for a “new” job / promotion / growth – Offer new job responsibilities.
  21. Having a “bad” manager – Avoid bad management actions (or inactions) by individual managers.
  22. Undefined or miscellaneous reasons for leaving – Miscellaneous retention strategies.
  23. Perception of low pay/benefits, rewards or no vision of wealth – Change compensation/benefits.
  24. Retention efforts came too late – Implement preventative strategies.

Micro reasons why people leave their jobs include:

1. Compensation

  • Not enough stock options / low value
  • Not enough benefits
  • Lack of bonuses
  • Lack of promotions
  • Lack of awards
  • Low pay and…
  • Loss of possible chance of “Wealth”

2. Lack of motivation for a particular project

  • Lack of enthusiasm toward the project
  • Work team not cohesive
  • Lack of communication in the project team
  • Assigned to a project unwillingly

3. Stress

  • Impossible to meet deadlines
  • Too many projects ongoing
  • Long working hours
  • Work taken home = less leisure time
  • Family/relationship problems due to the above
  • Possible health problems i.e. blood pressure high, nervous breakdown, anxiety attack

4. Competitor’s work environment is a better place to work

  • Companies such as SGI, Levi, Microsoft have a reputation of being “fun places to work at.”
  • More autonomy

Post-exit interview reasons for leaving (6-month delay)

  1. Bad management (actions–or inactions–by individual managers)
  2. Lack of challenge

As seen on Gately Consulting

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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