HR Management

The 7 Hidden Reasons Your Employees Leave You

Nearly 90% of bosses think their employees quit to make more money. That means nearly 90% of bosses are wrong. Studies show these are the seven “real” reasons that retention isn’t better:

Ask HR people their top issue these days, and it’s likely to be retention. That’s no surprise. The cost in dollars and disruption of replacing a trained employee is enormous.

What is surprising is how much employers misunderstand why their people leave, author Leigh Branham, SPHR, told a standing-room-only audience at a recent SHRM conference. That misunderstanding is evident in one astonishing statistical comparison:

–Employers who think their people leave for more money: 89%

–Employees who actually do leave for more money: 12%

The latter result, says Branham, founder of retention consultant KeepingthePeople, Inc., comes from a study of 19,700 post-exit interviews done by the Saratoga Institute, an independent research group. The data identified seven “hidden reasons” employees resign. Here are those reasons, along with Branham’s antidote for each:

1) Job not as expected. This is a prime reason for early departures. Branham’s answer: “Give a realistic job preview to every candidate.”

2) Job doesn’t fit talents and interests. Branham attributes this to hasty hiring, and advises employers to “hire for fit. Match their talents to your needs.”

3) Little or no feedback/coaching. Today’s employees, and especially the younger workers, want “feedback whenever I want it, at the touch of a button.” Give it honestly and often, says Branham, and you’ll get job commitment, not just compliance.

4) No hope for career growth. The antidote: Provide talent self-management tools and training.

5) Feel devalued and unrecognized. Money issues appear here, says Branham, but the category also includes even more employees who complained that no one ever said ‘thanks’ on the job or listened to what they had to say. Address the compensation issue with a system that’s fair and understandable, says Branham. Then listen – and respond – to employee input. “Also, ask yourself ‘how many of my employees get too much recognition?’” 

6) Feel overworked and stressed out. Branham says this comes from insufficient respect in the organization for the life/work balance of employees. Recommended: Institute a “culture of giving” that meets employees’ total needs.

7) Lack of trust or confidence in leaders. Leaders have to understand that they’re there to serve employees’ needs, says Branham, not the other way around. Develop leaders who care about and nurture their workers, and trust and confidence will develop as well.

How large is the payoff for companies that follow these guidelines? Branham looks to Fortune’s “Great Places to Work” list, where, he says, companies hew to these principles. “While the average S&P 500 company grew 25 percent,” he reports, “these companies grew an average of 133 percent. It pays to treat people right.”

Is Branham on point? Use the Share Your Comments button and let us know your views.

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  • srhrlady

    Your hit the nail on the head with #1. Our comoany hires mostly highly educated, highly skilled employees who’s first complaint is they feel like they have gone backwords as they are not allowed to make one decision. When you step in to cover an open position you are criticized or demoted rather than thanked for pitching in and helping the company stay afloat. It is very demeaning, and obviously unfulfilling and unrewarding. Consequently folks are always looking for something better to come along.

  • jschleifer

    True true… have you ever noticed that the managers in the high turnover areas are always the first and loudest to proclaim its due purely to compensation?

    Roxanne Polk
    Assistant Director, Human Resources
    John F. Kennedy University

  • dmstewart

    I think #4, #5 and #7 go hand in hand. If you believe you have no potential for career growth it will directly affect how valued you feel as an employee. If your management team is only interested in growing their business but not their people, not only will the employees leave, but the business will suffer as well.

    Donna Stewart
    Worker’s Compensation Consultant II

  • jmathews@rich.com

    While these are all very good points that I agree with; I continue to have employees during an exit interview say they left for more money. As I continue through the exit interview process, it most often appears that it wasn’t in fact money but something such as no growth or little or no feedback. I find #1 quite interesting as when I am a candidate interviewing for a position I find I ask many questions to ensure I have a realistic picture of the job before I accept!
    Jayne Mathews

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the list. I was once experienced #1. I really dislike it when employers are doing everything just to get you signed in that contract, and when you are in… their lies are revealed.