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Why are your employees leaving?

People quit jobs for many reasons. Some of them are out of your control; for instance, a spouse makes a career change that necessitates a long-distance move or a parent chooses to stay home and raise a family. But in a majority of cases, steps can be taken to prevent good employees from deciding to write that resignation letter.

These are some of the most common reasons employees decide they’ve had enough:

A Toxic Relationship with their Boss

The familiar saying is true: Often, employees don’t quit their jobs. They quit their bosses. In Gallup’s study of over 7,000 adults, they found “One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.” People don’t have to be friends with their managers, but they do need to have a healthy, productive working relationship.

  • Bosses provide direction and feedback, and connect employees to the larger organization. If this relationship sours, it undermines a person’s confidence, engagement and commitment.
  • Don’t assume your managers will do this naturally.  Provide training for supervisors and managers on how to work with employees to set goals and clearly communicate expectations. Then set structured opportunities to provide feedback regularly.  Managing this process in an HRIS or performance management system will provide easier administration and increased visibility and accountability.

Toxic Relationships with Coworkers

In addition to their manager, the colleagues with whom employees sit, work on teams and otherwise interact are critical components of their work environment.

  • Gallup research has shown that another leading factor impacting a person’s happiness on the job is having a good friend at work. This statement can often spark negative reactions; however, research has continued to show strong correlations between a deep affiliation with coworkers and increased customer satisfaction and profits.
  • Look for opportunities to bring employees together and plan time to socialize when it will not disrupt work.
  • Notice and intervene if you see signs of problems in this area that employees appear unable to resolve on their own.


Employees want meaningful work that they really enjoy.  And, they want to feel as though they’re moving forward versus being locked into a monotonous groove day in and day out.

  • Encourage employees to find ways to improve how you do business that will increase efficiency or reduce cost. Allow them the chance to try news ideas but don’t penalize them if they fail.
  • Never stop learning. Have managers work with employees to create a learning and development plan and continue to check in on it. Consider introducing a learning management system (LMS) as a way to provide structured training and measure progress.

Lack of Opportunities to Use their Skills

When people practice their best professional abilities, they feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and self-confidence. In order to continually develop their strengths, they need to use them regularly. If they fail to see a clear path to growth within your company, they’ll find it elsewhere.

  • Talk with employees regularly and help them create a clearly-defined career path.
  • Provide opportunities for work that highlights their strengths.  Encourage employees to seek out opportunities for themselves too and support those suggestions when feasible.
  • Communicate with employees about the talents that are unique to them and the value they provide.

Lack of Independence

Employees need autonomy and a feeling of independence. Managers should be leaders and facilitators, but as much as possible, they should stand back and let people shine.

  • Rarely is an employee happy when they’re being micromanaged or forced to simply toe the line when they have an idea for innovation. No one wants to feel infantilized or that they aren’t trusted to make their own decisions.

Lack of Recognition

Even the most selfless people want to be recognized and rewarded for a job well done. It’s human nature.

  • When you fail to recognize employees, you fail to motivate them. And, you miss out on the most effective way to reinforce great performance.
  • Even if your budget is tight, there are plenty of low-cost ways to provide recognition. Sincere words of appreciation, for example, are free of charge.
  • Ensure there is a balance of personal and public recognition. A handwritten thank you note sends a great personal message.  Saying thank you during a team meeting and handing the person the note at that time makes the recognition more public. Consider how each employee prefers to be acknowledged.

Employee retention has a significant impact on your company’s performance, profitability and growth. HR Works offers a proven track record of helping organizations source, hire, retain and develop top talent. Contact us today to discuss the solution for you.

© 2019 HR Works, Inc. All Rights Reserved

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.