Why Employees Leave (And How to Stop Them)3 min read

March 13, 2019 Talent Acquisition

What makes a great employee pursue a new opportunity? Here are three major reasons employees seek out new roles—and what you can do to prevent turnover.

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Whether it’s due to a major life event or a desire for personal change, losing top talent can have a devastating (and costly) effect on your company’s operations.

Replacing an employee is expensive. According to TLNT, the price of replacing an entry-level employee is 30-50 percent of their annual salary, a mid-level employee costs 150 percent, and a high-level or highly specialized employee costs 400 percent of their annual salary. You read that right: the very act of finding a replacement for a role can cost the same as hiring four of the same position.

If you’re not recruiting with retention in mind, you’re wasting money and creating far more work for yourself in the long run. Here’s a look at some of the top reasons employees decide to leave your company — and what you can do to keep them:

1. Boring, Unchallenging Work

If the work is monotonous or repetitive, it’s only a matter of time before the employee stops feigning interest and starts heading for the exit.

When employees don’t feel like they’re putting their skills to use, they’re more likely to leave their jobs. According to a study by Gallup, employees who use their strengths are 15-percent less likely to quit their jobs, eight percent more productive and six times more likely to stay engaged at work.

The solution: Hire candidates who are excited to put their best skills to use. In assessing their fit for the role and your company’s culture, make sure the role is a match for their personality and puts them in a position to remain productive and stimulated. Finally, consider offering opportunities for professional development to allow employees to refine their skills or pursue new interests.

2. No Recognition

Your employees may contribute to your bottom line, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a worker who is pleased to be considered just another number. When an employee shows up, does their work, and heads home with no recognition of a job well done other than a paycheck, it can be challenging to remain motivated to return day after day.

One study from Office Team found 66 percent of employees would be willing to leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated, and among millennials, that number jumps to 76 percent.

The solution: Find frequent reasons to recognize and celebrate the members of your team. From birthdays to milestone victories, making your employees feel valued within your organization shows appreciation for their talents and contributions. Highlighting the recent successes of individuals or teams within your company through blogs or videos can also make excellent recruitment marketing content.

3. Lack of Balance

More often than not, the workplace is an employee’s home away-from-home, where they spend 40 hours working hard to make it possible to live out the remaining 128 hours of the week. But when that balance gets thrown off, as workdays slowly become longer and pressure increases to be available 24/7, employees start to feel the erosion of their work-life balance.

A recent survey from Hays found that 47 percent of workers actively looking for new positions identified corporate culture as their top reason for seeking new work.

The solution: Foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture with a reasonable work-life balance. Consider offering benefits like flexible schedules or remote work options to let your employees better manage their free time and maximize their at-work efficiency. But if the overall workplace environment is the source of the toxicity, your leadership team needs to accept responsibility and resolve to make improvements.

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