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Employee Attrition

Unlocking the Why: 10 Key Factors Behind Employee Attrition

Explore the diverse factors that drive employees to leave their jobs. Gain insights into both organizational and personal motives, and discover how understanding these reasons can lead to enhanced employee retention strategies.



Why Do Employees Quit Their Jobs?

The number of people quitting their jobs soared in 2021, and many employers are left wondering why employees are quitting their jobs in such high volumes. It's impossible to identify a single cause for so many job separations because there are a multitude of different reasons people leave their positions. Despite the increase in job separations over the last couple of years, there are still a variety of strategies employers can implement to improve employee retention.

Employers and human resources professionals need to know the top reasons employees leave their jobs, so they can implement strategies that gives them a reason to want to stay with their company. To understand what makes someone leave their job, consider the following reasons:

1. Low Pay

One of the top reasons for leaving a job is low pay. Employees want to receive fair compensation for their hard work. While paying employees lower wages or salaries might save a company money in the short term, it can also drive away employees and create a poor reputation in the process. Industry standards regarding compensation are public knowledge, and most people will know how much money they can make to do the same job at other companies.

For example, an employee may receive $35,000 a year at one company to do a job they could receive $50,000 for at other companies. Since people work to support themselves and their desired lifestyle, you will likely see a trend of turnover if you don’t pay your employees more than a living wage in today’s economy.

To prevent employees from leaving due to low pay, make sure your offered salaries match industry standards. If most companies pay a certain amount for a job, offer the same or a similar amount to your employees who do the same job. You can also offer bonus opportunities or raises to help employees work toward their desired salary.

While this may cost the company more, it can save money in the long run since turnover and recruitment costs can be higher. By offering a fair wage, companies retain quality employees and avoid spending money on hiring and training new hires.

2. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Lack of Work Life Balance

Employees have lives outside of the office, and they expect their employers to respect that. People have families, friends, hobbies, and communities important to them. Additionally, taking time for physical, mental, and emotional health, and vacations is critical for overall well-being and happiness. Employees are more likely to leave a job when it doesn't allow them to enjoy their personal lives outside of working hours.

For example, an employer might expect employees to work a significant amount of overtime or answer emails on their days off. This takes away from an individual's personal time, it can invade boundaries and cause them stress and eventually burnout. Similarly, an employer might allow very little vacation time, sick days, or paid time off, limiting an employee's ability to care of their physical and mental health.

To avoid losing employees due to poor work-life balance, consider the following tips:

  • Offer and honor a fair amount of paid time off.
  • Don't ask employees to complete tasks outside of working hours.
  • Encourage employees to enjoy their time outside of work.
  • Give employees freedom and support to take time off when they need it.

3. Limited Growth Opportunities

Employees value growth opportunities because they want to better themselves. No one wants to feel stuck, so it's important for people to feel they are growing and changing in their careers. If a person does the same job for many years, they can become bored or burnt out. They may also desire to grow in their career so they can gain opportunities for promotions or higher pay.

A seasoned employee might feel they do a great job in their position and want to learn more to grow. Similarly, an employee may work hard to improve their skills and become discouraged when they never receive a promotion or pay raise.

Retain employees by offering them opportunities to hone their skills, learn new skills, or earn a promotion. Provide training opportunities employees can participate in during work hours or on their breaks. Host seminars or online sessions about self-improvement topics to help employees grow professionally and personally.

Ask your employees what their goals are and how you can support them as they work toward them. Find out what topics they would like to learn about and which skills they want to improve. Offering growth opportunities to your workforce will go a long way in retaining them and keeping them happy and fulfilled.

4. Career Direction Change

Some people leave their jobs simply because their career dreams change. They might realize they aren't passionate about their current career choice and want to shift to a different field. This can happen for various reasons. People's experiences, interests, outside influences, communities, and hobbies affect how they see the world and how they want to contribute to it.

A recent college graduate might realize their original career path isn't what they expected. They might find it too stressful or uninteresting and desire a different career that better aligns with their goals and desires. A seasoned employee who has been working the same job for fifteen years might discover a new passion or talent and want to change careers to share it with the world.

It may seem like there is no way to avoid losing employees when they desire a career change. However, some situations may help you retain these employees. If your company has multiple departments, offer to transfer someone to a new position if they find they are passionate about a different line of work.

For example, you might have an employee working in finance who develops a passion for web development. If your company needs a web developer, offer this opportunity to your employee or provide training opportunities to help them develop the necessary skills for the position.

5. Poor or Misaligned Company Culture

Poor or Misaligned Company Culture

A company's culture includes its values, goals, attitudes, behaviors, interactions, and beliefs. Employees are more likely to leave their job if they feel that they don't fit within a company's culture. A positive work culture can help a company retain employees, while a negative or toxic culture can make a company lose employees.

If an employee finds it difficult to communicate with management or interact with other people in the office, they will most likely feel uncomfortable. An employee is also more likely to leave a job if they feel that the company's behaviors don't align with their goals and values. If a company values teamwork but does little to help its workforce communicate constructively, employees often seek employment elsewhere.

Improve your company's culture and retain more employees in the following ways:

  • Provide positive and constructive feedback to employees.
  • Train company leaders on how to encourage and motivate employees.
  • Engage in friendly conversations with employees.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for employees.
  • Communicate to employees when their hard work positively impacts the company.
  • Create positive experiences for employees.
  • Provide live or online sessions for employees to work on self-improvement or learn together.
  • Offer team building opportunities for employees to have fun together as a team.

6. Poor Management

Poor management is another reason many employees leave their jobs. Employees often leave a job if their manager's personality clashes with their own or if management creates significant stress rather than offering support. Some people who excel at their jobs lack proper management skills. For example, a manager with a type-A personality may be very motivated and skilled at multitasking but may also exhibit impatience or hostility toward others.

If a manager micromanages employees or reacts negatively, employees will most likely seek a different job. You can avoid losing employees to poor management by training managers on positive leadership skills. Ensure managers have the knowledge and tools to communicate and interact with employees positively.

7. Too Heavy of a Workload

Managers may be tempted to give their most skilled employees a larger workload because they are productive and dependable. However, this can overwhelm employees, create resentment and cause them to feel burnt out. Additionally, employees often expect a raise or promotion when receiving additional responsibilities.

For example, if a manager gives an employee extra task to complete simply because they have skills in a certain program, the employee may struggle to complete their regular tasks. If employees have skills outside of their job description that the company finds valuable, they should be fairly compensated for implementing those skills.

To avoid losing employees due to heavy workloads, make sure employees feel comfortable with the tasks they are responsible for. Employees should be able to complete their tasks during the workday without feeling too stressed, and they shouldn't have to take work home with them in the evening. Check in with employees regularly to make sure they can handle their workload and adjust if necessary.

If an employee receives extra responsibilities outside of their original job description, make sure they receive an increase in job status and compensation. Offering employees salary increases, title changes, or promotions in exchange for increased responsibilities can make them feel valued and want to stay.

8. Lack of Recognition

Employees work hard and want to know that their efforts are appreciated. When employees feel underappreciated, they are more likely to seek employment with a different company. An employee will often look for a different job when they receive little to no reward for their hard work.

You can prevent losing employees for lack of recognition in many ways. Even small acts of appreciation can make employees feel valued and appreciated. To retain employees, consider the following:

  • Acknowledge employee efforts often, and tell them when they're doing a good job.
  • Recognize your employees' accomplishments.
  • Celebrate when employees reach their goals.
  • Offer incentives or points for accomplishments that employees can redeem for various prizes.
  • Plan fun events for employees.
  • Provide catered meetings or meals for employees when the company benefits from the team's hard work.
  • Provide positive feedback regularly.

9. Issues With Coworkers

Employees feel more comfortable at work when they have positive relationships with their coworkers. People want to work with others who communicate well and put in their fair share of effort. It's also important that employees feel like they are welcome and belong on a team.

If an employee feels like they put in a significant amount of effort to complete their tasks while other people in the office slack off, they may come to resent their coworkers. Additionally, an employee may feel uncomfortable around coworkers with negative attitudes or poor communication skills. If one employee snaps at others for making mistakes or fails to communicate important information, other employees may become discouraged or frustrated.

Diversity is also important. If an employee identifies as the only person in the office with a certain race, gender, or background, they may feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. It's important for offices to welcome diversity and eliminate any type of discrimination or prejudice.

To avoid losing employees, check in with your workforce often. Ask individuals how they feel working with their team and if they have any concerns. Intervene when you notice friction, and give employees opportunities to learn and develop their unique skillsets.

10. Personal Reasons

Some reasons employees quit are unrelated to the job or the company itself. Some people leave their job for personal reasons related to their life outside of work. For example, an employee might want to quit their job to stay home and take care of their children. Another employee might leave to work closer to family, take care of an ill family member, or care for their own mental health.

There is little companies can do to retain employees who leave for personal reasons. However, companies can provide assistance and resources to help employees balance work with personal matters, such as health benefits that cover mental health assistance. You can also provide online resources for caregivers to keep children or elderly family members occupied.

Increase Employee Retention by Offering a Resource for Employee Wellbeing and Professional Development

Understanding why employees leave their jobs is important because it can help employers and human resources managers retain their workforce. There are many things you can do to keep your employees working happily at your company. 

If you're ready to implement a live learning solution that drives employee engagement and retention at your organization... let's talk. 

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