Why do people leave jobs? Good question. I have been actively employed in the professional job market for a while. In that time, I have enjoyed multiple positions with multiple employers achieving both high and low results. However, there hasn’t been one position that I haven’t learned something new or how to become a better leader. In fact, I’ve learned more, become more diverse and become a stronger leader through the character I’ve built through the various situations and interactions I encountered. I wish it were the way it used to be. People got a job, the employees worked hard, the company recognized their value and so employees stayed for 30, 40 or 50 years. Nowadays, most employees get 3-5 years out of a job and turnover has become a day in the life of an organization. However, in my research, I’ve found the cost of turnover and employee retention costs to be astounding. Here is some of what I found:
- 51 % of workers are looking to leave their jobs (Gallup)
- 40 % of employees are considering employment outside of their current firm within the next year (SHRM)
- 34 % of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months (Mercer)
- 74 % of all workers are satisfied with their jobs; 66 percent of those are still open to new employment (Jobvite)
- Cost of replacing entry-level employees: 30 to 50 % of their annual salary (ERE Media)
- Cost of replacing midlevel employees: 150 % of their yearly salary (ERE Media)
- Cost of replacing high-level or highly specialized employees: 400 % of their annual salary (ERE Media)
- 44 % of Millennials say, if, given the choice, they expect to leave their employer in the next two years (Deloitte)
- 45 % of employees reported that they would be likely or very likely to look for another job outside their current organization within the next year (SHRM)
- 47 % of Americans would leave for their ideal job even if it meant less pay (Adobe)
This information made me raise my eyebrows but didn’t really surprise me. Some of these are the reason(s) I left a job or two, and it confirms some of the feedback I’ve received in exit interviews.
So why do people leave their jobs? Here are 9 reasons I put together based on my experience and feedback from others.
- The Leader – More than 50% of people leave their job because of their boss. Whether it is a weak relationship or a lack of character and integrity, people will leave a job if they don’t feel comfortable working in that environment. People don’t typically leave a company, they leave the people. This is an accurate statement for me personally. I struggle with people who are poor leaders. Early in my career, I would merely find another job rather than work on my influence with that leader. However, I matured. I’ve realized that you can effectively influence your leader through your diligent hard work and your consistent character. When people see who you are in all situations, they tend to buy into the person and work to change their interactions and ways.
- BORED! – Same stuff day after day. People want to feel they’re moving forward and growing in their professional life. They want to have something to aspire to. If there’s no structure for advancement, they’ll look somewhere else. In the meantime, they’re likely to be bored, unhappy, and resentful-and that will affect performance. No one wants to be bored and unchallenged by their work.
- Overworked – There are seasons of being overworked. Stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed come with many jobs, but so does burnout. If the season never changes, then employees will look elsewhere. Consider this, it’s often the best employees, the most capable and committed and the most trusted that we overload most. If they find themselves continually taking on more and the perception is there is no end in sight, then they feel they’re being taken advantage of.
- A Blurry Vision – There’s nothing more frustrating than a workplace filled with visions, but no actions to achieve. I’ve worked at many places where the vision is posted on the website, are framed and hanging in each office. I even had a CEO tape our the company vision to every door in the building. However, I never saw the actions to achieve that vision. In fact, I bet you could still find some of them hanging after 2 years of leaving. What person wants to spend his or her time and energy in support of something undefined or merely hype and talk? People don’t want to spend their time and effort just spinning their wheels.
- Profits Over People – When an organization values its bottom line more than its people, the people go elsewhere. The result is a culture of underperformance, low morale, and even disciplinary issues. Of course, things like profit, output, pleasing stakeholders, and productivity are essential, but success ultimately depends on the people who do the work.
- Feeling Undervalued – It’s human nature to want to be recognized and praised for a job well done. And in business, recognizing employees is not merely a nice thing to do but an effective way to communicate your appreciation for their efforts and successes. This will reinforce those actions and behaviors that make a difference. When you fail to recognize employees, you’re not only failing to motivate them but also missing out on the most efficient way to reinforce high performance.
- No Trust – Trust is crucial to influence, and influence is required to lead people. Employees view your behavior and weigh it against your commitments. If they see you dealing unethically with vendors, cheating clients, or failing to keep your word, the best will leave.
- Lack of Transparency – Hoarding or not sharing information will cause people to leave. A person who hoards information does it to control the outcome.Patrick Lencioni’s masterpiece The Five Dysfunctions of a Team indicates the foundation for any good relationship is trust, and that foundation of trust just cannot happen without transparency at work. As a result, employees working for managers who share information will work harder for them, respect them more, be more innovative, and solve problems much faster.
- Corporate Culture – While it’s not the top for leaving a job, the overall company culture affects an employees attitude and ultimately influences their decisions to go. Some questions to consider when evaluating the company culture.
Does the organization appreciate employees, treat them with respect, and provide compensation, benefits, and perks in line with competitors?
Is the work environment conducive to employee satisfaction and engagement?
Do you provide events, employee activities, celebrations, and team building efforts that make employees feel that your organization is a great place to work?
Ultimately, many people leave their job because of the boss, not the work or the organization.
People create results. And Leadership is essential to attracting and maintaining talented results-oriented people. Ask yourself what you may be doing to drive your best people away, and start making the changes needed to keep them.