If you’re looking for a smoking-gun reason as to what makes a good employee quit, well, it isn’t always that easy. In fact, it could be a combination of things over time. That said, there are typically a certain set of “common” reasons that drive employees towards leaving an organisation.
There’s also a frequent assumption that today’s workers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, change jobs more often than past generations – and thus, are only really concerned about themselves versus loyalty to a company.
Surprisingly enough, statistics today reveal that employees actually stay longer with a company compared to 25 years ago. That, however, doesn’t make it any easier for companies experiencing high turnover rates. Pulling back the curtain on those statistics will often divulge a range of factors that account for tenure, like particular industry, age, race, education and ethnicity.
So, the question remains: Why do employees leave their jobs and, more specifically, why do good employees leave?
Lack of trust, respect and autonomy is a big one. Leaders who don’t trust or respect their employees – or micro-manage them – are probably setting themselves up for failure with high-performing employees (who don’t really need this type of supervision). Another big one – and this has certainly been associated with younger workers: under-appreciation and lack of recognition carries a lot of weight in the workplace these days. Consistent failure on this level will likely have you searching for new talent more often than you want to.
No opportunity for growth, development or advancement has also quickly become a headline in today’s job market. If your company is lean on these opportunities, you’ll probably also be lean on employee tenure when it all shakes out.
Poor management and poor communication are also a modern recipe for employee departure. Not only do today’s workers want to be valued, respected and given the opportunity to advance, they want to belong to a system that achieves these things through efficient processes and professional – if not motivational – interactions. Leading by example will still get you pretty far in this regard, as long as the example you’re setting is inspiring versus discouraging.
A few more key words to keep an eye on: overwork, work-life balance, support. The modern workplace, no matter the industry, recognises when their staff is struggling with too much work and-or a lack of support. Productive employers make adjustments to address and solve these issues. When workers feel like you care, they will care in return. It sounds like simple math – but it’s also an undeniable two-way street.
Lastly, if your stated company mission, vision and value structure doesn’t align with what’s happening on the ground or in the office every day, then you better fix it, and fast. Modern employees not only want to know they’re working for a productive, professional organisation, they also want to belong to an authentic company. Once you start losing quality employees for this reason, or any of the above reasons, something else will also happen – more quality employees will start looking in other directions. All the more reason to do regular company-employee assessments.
Ultimately, whether or not modern employees statistically stay longer today doesn’t override the fact that they also have much less tolerance for being unhappy. Processes are always being analyzed, and leaders are always being watched. Workers today aren’t just going to stay in a job that doesn’t fulfill them, doesn’t provide growth and advancement and doesn’t provide a satisfying work environment.
Today’s organisations across all industries will only make themselves stronger and more attractive to high-value employees by identifying root causes for employee turnover, and taking the necessary steps to create a happier, more engaged workforce.