Out of Goodbyes: 8 Key Reasons Why Employees Leave
If you want to understand why a lot of employees quit their jobs, then you have to look into their needs in both their professional and personal lives.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why employees leave to help you understand what influences their decisions. This can give you a better idea of what help to offer your employees so they can attain genuine happiness and satisfaction at work.
The Great Reset: A View of the People Who Left
People are still quitting and 40 percent of the people they surveyed are still considering quitting their jobs and this has been unchanged from 2021. Employees aren’t just quitting. According to McKinsey Quarterly, their reasons for quitting may fall under one of these three categories.¹
Reassessing employees quit their jobs due to personal matters. It could be that they have elders or children to care for. It’s also possible that they themselves needed to be cared for. These employees may have entirely left the workforce, which caused the readily available candidate pool to shrink.
Reshuffling employees are leaving their current employers for another in a different industry. According to McKinsey, 48 percent of employees quit their job. This caused some industries to disproportionately lose employees while others are having a hard time attracting candidates. Some industries are even grappling with both.
Reinventing individuals are leaving their employment to pursue non-traditional work, such as gigs, temporary work, or part-time roles. Some of them even go as far as starting their own businesses.
McKinsey also found that out of the employees who resigned from their jobs without a new one lined up, 47 percent of them decided to return to the workforce, but only 29 percent returned to traditional employment full-time.
The Key Causes of Employee Resignation Today
There are a number of reasons why employees leave their jobs. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Uncompetitive Compensation
One of the reasons why employees leave is the spike in inflation. If you don’t have plans to match this spike with an increase in their salaries, then your employees may start looking for a more competitive offer elsewhere.
Top performers know their value. If they keep receiving phone calls and interview invites from recruiters, they won’t hesitate to leave an organization that doesn’t see their need for financial growth.
2. Disconnection in the Workplace
In Gallup’s recent 2023 State of the Global Workplace report, they found that engagement in the workplace has increased in 2022 to 23 percent, but this is only by 2 percent since 2021. Meanwhile, employee engagement in the US has decreased to 32 percent in 2022 from 34 percent in 2021.²
Employees are more likely to leave when they feel disconnected from the management, the organization’s values, or development opportunities. On the other hand, actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy. They can be resentful because their needs aren’t being addressed. They may even end up creating a negative workplace culture that may influence even engaged workers to quit.
It’s important to always be there to understand your employees and be mindful of any changes in their behavior. If they used to participate in company activities but are now withdrawing from them, approach them to see if they have any concerns and how you can address them.
3. Unclear Expectations
Your employees can benefit from knowing what they need to do to succeed in their careers. Setting clear expectations can help them focus their efforts and time on what’s important to their role and how it contributes to the company.
Having unclear expectations can result in delays and may affect their work outcomes. IT workers are an example of employees who may suffer from unclear expectations as they may receive more requests than their available time at work would allow.
Guide your employees from the beginning and set well-defined expectations through on-boarding programs and encourage your managers to set new goals with their teams regularly.
4. No Flexibility
Employees, especially those in tech, highly value remote and flexible work options, as it fosters autonomy, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.
Leaders should empower employees to choose their work schedule within reasonable boundaries. Clear policies can define when and why specific work hours are needed. This enables a more comfortable and productive work environment that ultimately increases employee retention.
5. Having No Visible Impact at Work
Employees who don’t see the impact of their efforts are more likely to leave because they desire to see their contributions making a difference in the company’s goals. They want to feel that their work matters.
What you can do as a leader is highlight individual successes during meetings. This shows each individual that you are happy or proud to work with them. You can also have regular updates in a team meeting or in a group chat where your members can share their progress.
6. Managerial Mishaps
Employees quit managers, not their jobs. Managers who fail to engage their members, cultivate teamwork, and provide regular feedback can advance employee turnover as much as managers who aren’t open to listening to their employees.
Professionals want to be led by a management that’s transparent and accountable. Companies can lead their employees better by regularly training their managers. This can help them learn to make time for listening to their employees’ concerns and proactively addressing their needs.
Related Reading: The Key to Leadership is to Know When to Push or Pull
7. Lack of Growth Opportunities
Top IT performers know that they must continuously improve their skill sets to stay relevant in the industry. And one of the many reasons they may leave is that they aren’t seeing any growth opportunities in their workplace.
Employers should provide their employees with various ways to hone their skills and open paths for career advancement as either managers or individual contributors. This demonstrates to employees that their growth matters to the company and their employer is willing to invest in their growth and development.
Employees experiencing burnout will look for other opportunities that won’t be as taxing to them. That’s why employers should pay attention to their employees’ struggles to respond to this concern.
Train your managers to support employees. Encourage employees to talk to their managers or a friend at work they can trust. You can also start wellness programs that were chosen by the employees themselves. If possible, you can also help them manage their workloads better. Show your team members that you value their work and their life and that you are always there to help.
Employee Happiness and Retention: Understanding the Needs of the Five Employee Personas
In an episode of The McKinsey podcast, leaders discussed the continuous quitting of employees. In their research, they found five personas of workers that can help employers understand what employees are looking for at work.
These are employees who didn’t quit their jobs over the pandemic and if they did, they’ve switched to another form of traditional employment. They’re motivated by the same things that motivated people from 2017 to 2019. Organizations looking to retain or hire employees find them dependable.
These people want a clear growth path and are looking for competitive compensation. They want to work for companies where they have inspirational leaders and colleagues they can enjoy being with.
Relaxers are people not looking for work or who have chosen early retirement. They don’t see a reason to come back to the workforce, but these are the same people who are purpose driven. They want to leave a legacy.
They aren’t as attracted to better compensation because they have enough money to live comfortably, but they would be attracted to the flexible work options and the idea that they can work with friends.
These employees have already gone to start their own businesses, joined the gig economy, or became contractors. These people are usually between the ages of 25 to 45-years-old.
They give importance to meaningful work, compensation, and flexibility. To get them back to working for a company, employers need to emphasize their mission and sense of purpose. Employers can also choose to offer them more attractive benefits that they can’t get from running their own business.
Caregivers value flexibility. This is because they’re the type of employees who care for children or elderly parents. They’re between the ages of 18 to 44. These people may have enjoyed their sense of purpose and the ability to advance at their previous employment, but they may have had to quit their jobs over the pandemic as being both an employee and caregiver wasn’t working for them.
You need to think about giving them flexible schedules or better benefits packages that may include more PTO, provision for childcare, on-site childcare, or even housecleaning to retain or hire caregivers.
Idealists are younger workers between the ages of 18 to 24. They don’t have as many responsibilities as caregivers, and they’re focused on different things. Flexibility and purpose are important to them. They want to pursue their passions and have a work-life balance, meaning they want to have a job and live at the same time.
This group is also looking to advance in their careers and develop their skills. They want a job that is meaningful and a career path they can grow on.
Understand Your Employees’ Needs to Retain Them and Keep Them Satisfied
It’s important to prioritize your workforce’s needs to ensure business growth and good employees quit because their needs aren’t being met by their employers. Their job satisfaction comes from being heard and understood. Reach out to your employees to better see what you can do for them.
EXPAND YOUR TEAM WITH ON-DEMAND GROUP
1 De Smet, Aaron, et al. “The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?” McKinsey & Company, 13 Jul. 2022, www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-great-attrition-is-making-hiring-harder-are-you-searching-the-right-talent-pools.
2 “State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report.” Gallup, accessed 14 Jul. 2023, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx#ite-506924.