Cutting ties: why employees leave their jobs

5 Top Reasons why Employees Leave their Jobs

In a recent survey of 9,699 adults employed across eight countries, EY found there were five main contributors to why employees leave their jobs. We explore these 5 reasons, and give practical ways to address them.

Across the United States, India, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Brazil and Mexico, employees feel the same pressures in their roles. Interestingly, even across age brackets, similar answers were given.

Below, we reveal the top five reasons people are considering leaving their current employers, and give a few practical ways that you can avoid employee turnover in your organisation.

A boss that doesn’t allow you to work flexibly

In fifth place of importance comes flexibility. The work/life balance for many people is high on the list for employees. A few methods to allow for flexibility and still ensure work gets completed, is to offer bonus days off for birthdays or special occasions.

Managers could also offer a pre-arranged, flexible day per week, where an employee can choose their own start and end times, or ideally, allow for employees to work remotely, telecommuting, if possible.

These methods do not need to be constant; perhaps even one day per two weeks is enough to give people a sense of better flexibility.

Practical suggestions:

  • Flexible days or roles
  • Encourage telecommuting
  • Bonus paid days off for special events

A work environment that does not encourage teamwork

If you have a team doing similar roles, you would be crazy not to encourage more teamwork. Asking employees to share the burden of each others roles, or even asking your employees to show gratitude to one another is a great way to help foster a teamwork environment.

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Team games, such as those mentioned in our post, 6 team building ideas for great staff engagement, are a great way to forge a stronger, more cohesive team environment.

Practical suggestions:

  • Ask employees to share workload
  • Encourage a culture of gratitude
  • Try out some well known team building activities
Teamwork

Image: 드림포유, Flickr

Excessive overtime hours

According to survey respondents, the third most important reasons people consider quitting their jobs is perceived excessive overtime hours.

Across the globe, for many employees, overtime is a fact of life, and crucial to their employers ongoing success, however be very mindful not to expect too much from your staff.

Whilst many managers or business owners are so emotionally invested, that they are not afraid to put in all of their waking hours for work, it shouldn’t become the defacto standard for all employees.

One way you can avoid employees ending up burnt out, is through engaging contractors or casuals for the overtime work, or have a talent pool of people you can call on short notice to help with the workload.

Even a simple thank you, arranging a day off in lieu or just being respectful of your employees wishes to have nights or weekends to themselves goes a long way to solving potential animosity between managers and their staff.

Practical suggestions:

  • Have contractors or casual workers to relieve workload
  • Arrange surprise days off for hardworking employees
  • Show gratitude as simply as saying thank you

As long as I’m having fun, I’m not quitting.
– Sue Johanson

Lack of opportunity to advance

The second most important reason why employees leave their jobs is a lack of opportunity to advance in their organisation.

Everyone wants to know they have a career ahead of them, and one of the worst demotivators is to feel you are in a role with no natural eventual progression into further senior roles.

It is important that at regular intervals, managers speak to their employees one on one, and determine what they wish to do in the medium term, and how both the manager themselves and the organisation, can help them achieve these goals.

In the worst scenario, where it is unlikely that you will be able to offer a career progression to an employee, offering to help prepare them for moving to a more senior role in another organisation will be received very well, and in the meantime, the current employer gets the benefit of the additional knowledge and personal insight.

Practical suggestions:

  • Discuss goals with employees one on one
  • Encourage internal recruitment, rather than external
  • Understand that employees may leave; help train for the future

Minimal wage growth

The most pertinent reason why employees leave their jobs goes back to the money question, and a lack of wage growth.

Understandably, for many organisations, it isn’t possible to exponentially increase an employees salary, just because they want more money. This is understandable, however it is worth explaining the reasoning behind the decision not to award employees further wage increases.

In the event that it is directly related to the employees performance, ensure that you clarify this with them, and set professional goals that are achievable and link their future salary expectations to these.

Being open with your team about the organisations financial situation, including a profit and loss, is becoming less unusual, and helps create deeper engagement with your team.

Practical suggestions:

  • Openly discuss financial situation of the organisation
  • Encourage further learning and skills for better salary
  • Create a performance based salary system
Employee salary

Image: 401(K), Flickr

In Summary

By being mindful of an employees needs, and particularly what would make them reconsider their current employment, you can take measures to avoid an employee leaving.

Statistics show that it can cost up to 40% of an employees annual salary to replace someone, by the time you take into account recruitment and advertising costs, training the new employee, etc.

Those main five factors for why employees leave their jobs, again, are;

  • A boss that doesn’t allow you to work flexibly
  • A work environment that does not encourage teamwork
  • Excessive overtime hours
  • Lack of opportunity to advance
  • Minimal wage growth

It makes good financial sense to focus and address these five reasons why employees leave their jobs, and ensure that you keep your current good employees engaged and motivated. For further reasoning why employee engagement saves money, see our previous blog post, Employee engagement strategies save money.

Note: The above findings were taken from an online survey undertaken for EY, in January 2015, among 9,699 adults aged 18–67 who are full-time employed across a variety of companies in the U.S., U.K., India, Japan, China, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.