Top 6 Reasons Why Employees Leave Their Jobs 

February 20, 2020

Does it feel like you’ve been hosting a lot of goodbye lunches lately? Like there is always a list of positions you are trying to backfill? While that can feel discouraging, at least know you aren’t alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of annual quits has risen for nine consecutive years. The last time voluntary quit rates were this high was back in 2001. A growing economy and great job market are a big part of so many people calling it quits and moving on, but what you need to know is why they are leaving your company. Let’s explore some reasons for leaving a job to help you get an idea of what can be done to improve retention at your organization.

Why Do Good Employees Leave Their Jobs?

1. Bad Manager

Don’t let a bad boss be the reason why good employees quit their jobs. According to the BambooHR Bad Boss Index, 44 percent of people said a bad boss has been their primary reason for leaving a job.

If you notice there is one team at the company that has an unusually high churn rate, you might consider giving the boss a refresh on their manager training. A great manager can be a fantastic asset to motivate and engage employees with the work they’re doing and keep them excited about your organization.

2. Growth Opportunity

Sometimes the only way to move up the ladder is changing companies. As much as someone loves your company, if the management position they want isn’t currently available at your organization, they might look elsewhere to find it. Encouraging communication and transparency from the employee about their career goals can allow their manager to help them look for opportunities within your organization to advance their position, transfer them to a different department, or move them from part- to full-time through internal hiring.

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3. Burnout

Squeezing every bit of time and effort out of your employees won’t have them wanting to stay with your company and won’t even result in their best work. According to research from Gallup, 23 percent of employees report feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. And all those burned-out employees are 2.6 times more likely to be looking for another job. Give your employees a break! Offer a generous but realistic amount of PTO to your employees and encourage them to actually use it. Employees will return to work rested and ready to go.

4. No Recognition

When was the last time you told your employees thank you? If you can’t remember, you might want to do something about that. 15Five reported no recognition as a top reason why employees leave their jobs. Over 80 percent of workers said that a lack of recognition led them to consider switching employers. Here are some of the top recognition perks employees request:

  • Monetary bonus
  • Gift card
  • Extra vacation days
  • Verbal recognition
  • Premium reserved parking space

Feel free to get creative with what you choose to offer employees. Just be sure they know they are valued and that you notice the incredible work they are doing.

What’s really driving employee engagement and career advancement?

5. Workplace Loneliness

We spend 40 hours, and in many cases more, at the office each week, so an employee feeling like they don’t connect with coworkers or feeling lonely is a big reason for leaving a job. Having an office bestie has been shown to increase employee engagement and happiness at work.

You can’t force anyone to be friends, but you can create opportunities for friendships to form. On the writing team at BambooHR, we start our weekly Monday meetings discussing our weekends. It gives everyone a chance to feel more connected beyond what’s on our calendars for the week and starts the meeting off on a friendly note.

6. Wrong Culture Fit

All of the above reasons for leaving a job can loosely fit under the larger company culture umbrella. No one wants to work at a company with a toxic culture, so if your company is headed down the wrong path, be sure to course correct. If you need some assistance, try browsing through this ebook, How to Improve Culture: 5 Easy Ways.

Sometimes the problem isn’t your culture, it’s how your employee fits with your culture. Do your best during the interview process to make sure anyone you hire is a good culture fit for your company, meaning they understand, can promote, and will buy into your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

It’s expensive to replace an employee, so it’s worth investing your time in conducting exit interviews and tracking employees’ reasons for leaving. You might start seeing some patterns and be able to slow down employee exits. Sometimes it will have nothing to do with your organization’s practices; it’s just time for the employee to move on. But when you can, do your best to make your company a place where star employees want to stay.

Danielle Cronquist
Copywriter

Danielle Cronquist is a copywriter for BambooHR. She writes content that gives people the tools and knowledge they need to do great work and create great places to work.