30 reasons staff leave a company (and 5 ways to stop them)

In the US, the average length of time an employee stays at a company is 4.6 years.

For employers one of the biggest challenges is stopping their employees from leaving. Businesses with high levels of staff turnover look bad and finding suitable replacements takes time.  The best way to stop employees from wanting to leave is to be aware of the reasons that make them want to leave in the first place; then you can intervene before it’s too late.

Now that people can search online for jobs, it’s so much easier to look for a new job and with reliable transport, people can travel further to go to work. There are so many opportunities available and when you’re discontent at work, it’s  easier for you to leave.

There are so many reasons that can make employees feel like they have to leave a job. We’ve collected a mega list to prepare you for every scenario.

reasons why staff leave and how to stop them

Reasons employees leave a company

1. Unhappy in their job

The most common reason an employee leaves is because they’re unhappy. There can be many factors causing their unhappiness but they feel like the job has a negative impact on their emotions.  They feel like the only option they have left is to leave.

2. The job isn’t challenging

Some people don’t mind having a job they can do blindfolded but others need to be challenged.  If a job isn’t challenging enough, an employee might be tempted to look for another job that pushes their limits.

3. Want to find a job closer to where they live

Having a long commute everyday can be draining and have a detrimental effect on a person’s social life.  They may be happy at work but they just need to find a job that doesn’t take an hour to reach everyday.

4. Want to be paid more

money means growth plant growing from pile of coins

In a US study last year it was revealed 52% of 18-29 year olds were unhappy with their salary. Wanting to be paid more is a common desire for most employees but for an employer it’s not always an easy desire to fulfill.

5. Been offered a better paid job elsewhere

Now that employees can make their CVs public online on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed.co.uk, it’s so much easier for agencies and headhunters to find suitable candidates. If your employee isn’t completely happy at work, they can be persuaded by a job offer that offers better opportunities and a better pay.

6. Ready for a change in career

You might have been working in accounting for over a decade but you’ve realised your true calling, you want to be a painter. Life is full of possibilities and sometimes you need a career change.

7. Want to further their own education

Some employees decide to leave work because they want to go back to school or be educated in another industry. In some job roles it’s important to get a qualification to get promoted.

8. They can’t stand their boss

The source of many employees’ unhappiness: the boss. Work gets so much harder if you can’t get on with your boss. If you’re working in close encounters with a boss you don’t like, it can make you want to switch jobs ASAP.

9. They can’t stand their co-workers

Some people say you go to work, to work, not make friends. But being able to get along with your work colleagues makes life at work easier. However if you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t stand your co-workers it can make your life miserable.

10. They’re jumping ship before the company falls under

It’s hard to work in a company if you know the business’ future isn’t secure.  Employees want financial security in their lives and it’s understandable they may want to jump from a sinking ship before it’s too late.

11. A life changing event has made them quit e.g. got married, had a baby, death in the family, etc. 

hands holding the feet of a newborn baby

After having a baby or losing a loved one, some people need to take time away from work to spend time at home with the family. They may want to return to the company in the future but for now they need a break.

12. Negative work culture

Working in a negative environment can make a detrimental impact on the most positive personalities. People want to be appreciated for their work and feel like they are being well treated by the company they work for.

13. Badly organised management systems

It can be difficult to work in a company where there is no clear management system. Employees need to know who they should talk to when they’re in a jam. Managers can get frustrated when their employees  go to somebody else to complain. It’s important to have a clear structure so everyone knows where they are and who they should go to if they have a problem.

14. Ill-suited to the job role

We’ve all been in that situation, where we start a new job to feel like we’ve taken too much on. Usually that feeling settles after a few weeks but it can be stressful if you still feel like you’re in the wrong job. Sometimes you need to try out a job to actually realise you’re not suited to it.

15. No opportunities for promotion

Feeling like you’re stuck in a dead end job can make employees look elsewhere. The idea of staying in the same job for five years isn’t always an appealing thought, some people like having a path where they can progress. If there are no opportunities for promotion, you can’t expect everyone to want to stay in the same job at the same pay forever.

16. Not given the chance to use their strengths

Each individual knows what their strengths are and being able to use the skills they’re good at can be very self-rewarding. However if you’re stuck doing tasks you’re not very good at, it can make you feel like you’re not very good at your job. People want to play to their strengths.

17. Lack of team work

Sometimes you have to work independently but employees should be able to feel like they are working in a reliable team. Working in a company where employees are only looking out for themselves is a very negative atmosphere, most employees want to feel like they are part of a team.

18. No clear business goal

What is your business’ goal? What are your employees working hard to achieve? If there is no clear goal, employees can feel lost and have no clear direction.

19. The job isn’t meaningful

Having a meaningless job can make you hate your job. Feeling like your job is worthwhile and is helping others (like directly helping the growth of the business) can feel very rewarding. Employees who feel like they are simply a working part  in a giant organization can feel like they are insignificant.

20. No benefits or perks working with you

Perks and benefits at work can make a business a very fun place to work. Benefits like extra holidays, having a paid day off on your birthday and company discounts can make employees enjoy their job more because they feel like they are getting extra in return.

21. No recognition for hard work

Getting no recognition from your manager for all your hard work can be frustrating. Working through your lunch break or staying after work for an extra hour can be worth it if you feel like your work is being appreciated. Receiving no recognition for all your hard work can be irritating and make employees want to work in a company who will recognise their efforts.

22. Wants to work in a company that will help them develop their own knowledge about the industry

reading a book

Some employees want to feel like they can learn and grow with a company. They might not like their job but they are happy with that because they are learning valuable skills to help develop their career. If an employee has worked in a company for six months and feels like they haven’t learnt anything new then they might consider it’s time to move on.

23. Don’t feel respected or appreciated

Not feeling respected or appreciated in their job can make any employee feel unhappy at work. After working so many hours developing your skills, you want to be respected by your colleagues and your managerial staff. Being disrespected or badly treated can make most employees want to leave.

24. The company has dishonest practices

It can be difficult to work in a company you don’t believe in, especially if you don’t agree with their business practices. What company you work for can reflect on your own reputation so most people would rather work for a business they respect.

25. No flexibility to help them balance work with home life

If you have lots of responsibilities outside of work, it can make life so much easier if your work is capable of being flexible. Some employees need flexi working hours or the ability to work from home, they can decide to move to another company who can offer them flexibility.

26. No stability

Working on a short term or limited contract can make employees feel uncertain about their future at a company. Most people want to know they are secure in a job and not have to worry  whether their contract will be renewed.

27. Feels like the company is stuck

Employees want to feel like their company is growing as a business every year so their future opportunities are growing too.  If a company is unwilling to change or adapt, their practices can get dated very quickly and they can face trouble from competitors. People want to work with companies who are industry leaders and are aware of modern innovations.

28. Their life outside of work is suffering

man working at home

Having to work in a job that demands you work extra hours and answer your emails at home can make you eventually resent your job. When people go home they want to relax and not have to think about work. If work and home life starts to merge together, it can make employees feel unhappy with their job.

29. No additional training offered

Companies who offer training opportunities can win extra points with their employees. Just like learning something new, having extra training means you can acquire new skills to improve your job role or give you opportunities to be promoted.

30. Given no independence

Having your manager micromanage everything you do, can get stressful very quickly. Employees need to feel like they can independently get the job done rather than have their manager follow them around scrutinising everything they do.


 

Most employees will leave because of several reasons rather than just one. In the list above, some reasons are certainly more significant than others. Some employees may love their job and their co-workers but they simply can’t get along with their boss and that can be enough reason for them to move on.

People don’t want to leave their job unless they have to. Changing jobs is a very stressful experience and can make you feel unsettled for weeks. But if an employee feels like they have no other option but to leave, then they will.

How to stop your employees from leaving

When there are so many reasons an employee can decide to leave, it can feel like an uphill battle trying to keep everyone happy. However there are ways you can create a happy working environment to keep your staff feeling content in your business.

1) Create a positive work culture

Creating a fun and happy place to work can make all the difference. If an employee feels uncomfortable or unhappy at work, they will more likely start looking for another job. Inspiring a positive work culture can do wonders for your employees. Share information with employees about the business’ development, encourage team work, offer flexibility and prove the well being of your employees is important.

2) Provide incentives

When working 9-5 your job can sometimes get a bit tedious and repetitive. Your company should offer perks and incentives for hard working employees to inspire them to work harder and be creative.

3) Listen to your staff

It’s rare an employee wakes up one morning with the random decision they are leaving their job. It usually takes weeks of consideration before they finally decide to pull the plug. Most staff will try and talk to their managers to try and make their situation better, if they feel like their situation can’t be improved then they will likely decide to leave.  Listen to your employees, some grievances may sound minor but if they have told you about it, clearly it’s bothering them.

After you have listened, do something to improve their situation. Try asking them how they would you like you to fix the problem, if you agree with their solution, action it. Going the extra mile for employees is greatly appreciated.

4) Offer opportunities for individual development

Over time, some employees will hope to advance in the company, they might want more responsibilities, a pay rise or a promotion to a different role.  If there is no opportunity to excel in the organization, the employee may feel like they are trapped in a dead end job.  Offer opportunities and goals for your staff to work toward.

Paying for courses to further educate can help employees feel valued as you are showing you are willing to invest in their career development to help them excel.

5) Improve morale

Just like creating a positive work culture, it’s important to improve morale. Create fun activities to encourage your employees to socialise during work hours and after work.

Make work more than just work, it can be a fun place too.  You can create a fun and supportive environment by investing in the design of your workspace.


There are so many reasons why employees decide to leave a company.  Sometimes you can’t do anything about it but you can create a positive working environment to help reduce the chances of someone wanting to leave.

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