4 Reasons Good Employees Quit
Updated: Nov 6, 2019
From a management standpoint, one of the hardest and most frustrating things is seeing good employees quit. Sometimes there’s little management can do, as an employee may simply see very appealing opportunities elsewhere. But many times, there are things managers can do to prevent top talent from quitting.
So why do these employees leave? Here are four powerful reasons good employees quit:
Lack of vision for the future
The 2019 Employee Engagement Report showed the issue often involves a lack of belief in the company’s future and senior leadership.
How employees feel about an organization’s management and future matters a great deal. According to the study, the top reason employees remain with a company is: “The senior leadership of my organization has communicated a vision of the future that motivates me.” On the flip side of this coin, the absence of a clear, positive vision can easily lead to retention problems.
Trouble With a Manager
Beyond high-level vision issues, management at its grassroots core is a relationship business. “A good relationship with a manager makes a bad job bearable, but a bad relationship with a manager can make a good job a misery.
People leave bad managers. A direct manager usually has a great deal of influence over one’s day-to-day experience of work. When persistent friction occurs, employees often end up “voting with their feet.” And leave.
This is a subset of the point above. While difficult relationships with managers can take many forms, micromanagement is definitely high on the list. As studies (as well as common sense) have shown, micromanagement is a nettlesome personal style that rarely goes over well with those on the receiving end.
People generally like to work with at least a bit of autonomy and freedom. When management gets over-involved in too many nitty-gritty details, it just gets under employees’ skin. This is especially true for high dominance employees who are behaviorally-wired to drive and take ownership.
Lack of development opportunities
Talented employees want to grow and advance; it’s human nature. Good managers (and smart organizations) appreciate this and provide challenging, interesting work, and meaningful career paths. A chance to learn and better oneself. While it can be all too easy for management to ignore this important function when caught up in day-to-day operational details, research has shown that lack of development opportunities is a leading cause of unwanted exits of top young talent.
Future vision, constructive relationships, micromanagement, and employee development—all of these are within management’s power to control. I’ve long believed management is more art than science. Whatever steps you can take as a manager to keep good people around are steps in the right direction.