By Christina Lattimer Human Resources (adapted)


There are plenty of reasons why employees quit their jobs – such as families relocating, needing to stay at home with their children or due to medical reasons.  However, a vast majority of the reasons why employees leave, are under the control of the employer.  That means the best way to keep your talent is to stay in tune with how they are feeling.

It’s important to ask your talent the following questions:

  • Are you enjoying your job?
  • Are you being challenged?
  • Do you work well with the team?
  • Are you feeling stressed?

Below are the 5 main reasons why your employees are quitting and what you can do about it!

  1. Lack of Recognition

Employees are much more likely to leave their employment if they feel their managers under-appreciate them.

What you can do: Your hard-working employees deserve praise and recognition so you need to give them some! Closely measure their performance, evaluate their productivity and try and make comparisons with other team members. This will enable you to identify your true top performers who you can then show genuine appreciation for. This can the form of company-wide recognition, a raise or a promotion which are simple ways to increase employee morale, engagement and retention.

  1. Managers who Lack People Skills

The relationship between employee and manager/supervisor plays an integral part in employee satisfaction. A prerequisite for being a truly great manager are strong interpersonal skills, meaning they need to be great communicators and listeners. Yet not all managers possess these traits. Leigh Branham, Owner and Founder of Keeping the People, says “Too many managers have never been well-coached themselves. Lacking a good role model, they either give no feedback and coaching at all or revert to the “YST” model — yelling, screaming, and threatening”. This can leave employees frustrated and unhappy.

What you can do: Managers need to ensure they spend a good portion of their time with their team. Top talent value consistent and constructive feedback so try to set up structured weekly 1-to-1 sessions, emphasis being on 1-to-1; make sure it is a two-way communication and you’re not just barking orders at employees! Talk about their current tasks, future projects and listen to any issues or concerns they may be having. The result of this will be employees feeling they are valued and cared for.

  1. Inadequate Compensation/Benefits

According to SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, compensation/pay and benefits were second and third most important contributors to employee job satisfaction. Hard-working and high-performing employees who feel they are not receiving a competitive salary or basic benefits will feel devalued and will be driven to find a better package elsewhere.

What you can do:  The first thing you need to do is research the market and identify what a competitive salary is and compare it to the one you offer. If there is a significant gap between the two, you need to reevaluate your packages.  As financier Sir James Goldsmith famously said, “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

If a pre-recession salary isn’t possible, start looking at benefits you can start including. Training and development opportunities, medical aid, flexible hours, paternity/maternity leave and good vacation time can all be used to retain employees and foster loyalty.

  1. Overworked

One of the biggest gripes your employees may have is the excessive volume of work. It’s not rocket science but employees don’t like to be overwhelmed as it can lead to burnout. Yes, stress is one of the critical elements of achievement (without a certain amount of it, employees would never perform), but burnout can have a major impact on employees. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40% of all workers today feel overworked, pressured, and squeezed to the point of anxiety, depression, and disease. It’s also counter-productive: John Pencavel of Stanford found that productivity drops sharply when employees work more than 50 hours a week.

What you can do: To prevent employees from burning out, employers should continuously check in with staff and make sure there’s an avenue for them to talk so there is a constant line of communication. Also, even simple things like hiring a part-time employee to minimise the workload and strictly sticking to the responsibilities defined in the interview can make a big difference.

  1. No Room For Innovation and Creativity

Religiously sticking to the status quo not only puts your business in jeopardy, it also irritates employees! Sticking to the idea of ‘how things are usually done around here’ can prevent employees from improving things which puts a low ceiling on their innovative ideas. The problem is that some managers want employees to work within a little ‘box’, fearing that if they go outside this box their productivity will drop. But top talent want the opportunity to showcase what they do best and leave their mark. So by caging this desire, employees feel useless and unwanted.

What you can do: It may sound obvious but if your business is focused on being innovative in what they do, they will need employees who are innovative. This represents a good opportunity for you to engage with employees and see what they can contribute to future endeavours. A really good tactic employers can use is setting up monthly creativity sessions where teams can bounce ideas off each other and come up with solid future plans that will help the organisation.