We all know that a high turnover rate can be costly and have a negative effect on employee morale as well as customer satisfaction. Plus, training new employees is a real investment of time and money, and it can take months before new employees are ready to make an impact.

While sometimes turnover is a result of weak hiring practices, other times we lose great employees. Retaining top talent is something we all want. Understanding these 5 reasons why good employees quit can help you identify problems before they result in turnover. Read on!

1. Your Employees Are Overworked

While it makes sense that you’d want your best employees to take the lead on important projects, adding too much to an individual’s work load may affect the quality of his work. Sometimes when this happens, star employees can feel punished for great performance. If you must increase the workload of key personnel, an increase in status and/or pay is also appropriate. Talented employees will take on a larger workload, but they won’t stay if their hard work goes unappreciated.

2. Hard Work Goes Unnoticed 

It’s easy to underestimate the powerful sentiment of a job well done. In fact, the #1 key driver of engagement among Best Places to Work in the U.S.[i] is feeling valued. This is especially true for employees who are innately motivated to go above and beyond. Every employee appreciates being appreciated, none more so than those who work hard and give their all to each and every task. Managers should regularly communicate with the team to discover what makes them feel valued. For some, public recognition resonates, while others prefer a raise or promoted status.

3. Trust is Broken

Do what you say and say what you’ll do; especially when it comes to compensation packages and job titles. When you promise an employee a promotion and deliver, you build trust and rapport. Conversely, when these promises are made and fall short, trust is broken. In these situations, it can be very frustrating for employees who may become alienated. Instead, be straightforward. If you need to increase workload, resist the urge to offer a vague promise of future promotion. Be honest. Describe the work that needs to be completed and descriptively outline when and how they’ll be compensated, if that is to be impacted at all.

4. Management is Difficult 

Oftentimes, employees leave because of a poor relationship with their supervisor. Good managers are concerned about staff retention and do everything in their power to keep top performers happy. Here are some common themes that illustrate poor supervisor relationships:

  • Limited communication / hard to reach: Employees should be able to go to their managers to express concerns and ask questions. Unreachable managers leave employees feeling disengaged. Why care about work if your boss doesn’t?
  • Micromanagement: This manager is around too much. How can an employee accomplish anything confidently when there is someone constantly standing over their shoulder criticizing their work? An employee will eventually lose motivation when they feel everything they do is never good enough.
  • Not enough feedback: All professionals need feedback on their performance and constructive advice they can use to improve.
  • Treating employees as inferior: Employees don’t need to be on equal ground with managers, but they do need to be treated with appreciation and respect.

5. There’s No Room to Grow 

Employees will be more inclined to stay with a business that provides opportunities for growth; a place where they can grow. Employees will work harder to put their best foot forward when it’s met with gradually increasing job opportunities. Additionally, an employee that has advanced from entry level to a management position is more likely to continue working hard; rather than someone who’s been doing the same job for years, despite their dedicated work ethic. A position without a clear path for growth may be met with regular turnover when employees peak and are ready to expand their careers.

For companies with growth capabilities, make sure to first look internally when deciding to hire for a new position. Give seasoned employees the opportunity to stretch into the new position. This doesn’t always mean the position may pay more but maybe allows employees to reach out and discover other talents. Make sure employees are aware of internal openings and have a chance to apply, if interested.

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It’s powerful to know what your employees think! You can identify problems like poor supervision, communication breakdown, and mounting plans to leave your company before expensive turnover affects your business.
Use this checklist for a quick read on your employee engagement.

[i] Benchmark Report: Best Places to Work in the U.S. 2015. Best Companies Group.


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