It comes as no surprise to today’s workforce that the job market is less secure than it used to be. Modern job seekers know that there’s no such thing as a “job for life” anymore. Many have considered quitting their jobs for greener pastures too, which makes engaging employees more important than ever. Many companies aim to keep employees engaged using employee evaluation comments and overall performance comments, but it takes more than a little feedback on an annual basis to keep employees from looking elsewhere for work.
The decision to leave one’s job doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There’s almost always a trigger that pushes someone to hand in their resignation. It can be difficult for companies to pinpoint exactly what makes an employee leave: it could be the professional culture, the lack of social engagement, or even a feeling of isolation. Sometimes, poor management style causes an employee to quit, and other times it’s the feeling that the employee simply doesn’t feel they fit into the company.
Whatever the case, one thing is clear: identifying and fixing the issues employees bring up– throughout the year or in performance evaluation comments– should be the top priority for a company looking to retain its employees. So, what are the biggest reasons why employees choose to leave their jobs? Let’s take a look.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Before we dive into the reasons employees might leave a company, we need to understand Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you haven’t come across this before, it’s the theory that for a person to feel happy, fulfilled, and satisfied, they have needs that must be met. Only when a need is met can someone begin to focus on the needs further up the hierarchy.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows us that a person needs to fulfill their physiological needs before they can focus on their safety needs. For an employee, this means that before they can attend to matters like their job security, they must first be in a position where they are earning enough money to live.
Let us look at the top 7 reasons why employees leave their jobs:
1. Financial factors
One of the reasons why employees will leave their job is when they feel that their current position in your company isn’t paying them enough to fulfill their physical needs. At this point, the job security and other benefits your company offers them aren’t enough to convince them to stick around. You will need to offer something such as free childcare that will give some relief from the financial strain. If your company is struggling to retain its employees, the first place that executives and HR professionals like you need to look is the salaries and benefits you’re offering.
2. Psychological factors
If your employees are paid well, and they’re not at risk of losing their job, then chances are that they’re leaving to fulfill their psychological needs. According to Maslow’s theory, the next step following safety needs is love and belonging, so they will not feel like they have any connection with either your company or their team. Or, it could be that they don’t feel that they’re respected, valued, or recognized for their work.
3. Career progression potential
45% of employees say that they’re not satisfied with the career progression potential in their current company. A recent survey also found that one-third of managers don’t think there’s a formal career progression system within their company, meaning that the aspirations of many employees get lost in performance reviews that aren’t recorded. It’s clear that if an employee’s performance improvement and career development desires aren’t satisfied, they’re willing to leave their jobs to move up the career ladder, leaving companies like yours without the talented staff that helped make the company a success. To help solve this problem, compare your performance reviews with performance review examples from other companies. Do you include a section dedicated to asking about an employee’s career aspirations? If not, you’re not demonstrating to your team that you have their career progression and potential in mind.
One extremely common reason why employees leave their jobs is because of a lack of recognition for their work. A 2017 study by Forbes found that 36% of employees said it was the number one reason why they were considering switching jobs. A theorized reason for this lack of recognition is the lack of emotional intelligence among managers. In the vast majority of companies, managers are hired or promoted primarily for their ability to do their work, and not necessarily because they’re good at dealing with people. With this in mind, many managers don’t take the time out of their day to tell their team members when they’re doing a good job. While giving employees pay raises and other benefits are key ways that companies can show their recognition, a simple thank you from their manager can go a long way. Being consistent with employee evaluation comments that boost employee morale is a no-cost way to ensure that employees know they are being recognized for their hard work.
5. Cultural fit
Research has found that an estimated 73% of professionals have left their job over a lack of cultural fit at work, which goes to show that the drive to belong as part of a wider group is a key part of employee engagement and retention. It’s surprisingly common for companies to not be truthful or open about their company culture. This often creates frustration in the employees’ minds, because they don’t know why they’re struggling to fit in, despite originally finding the company culture exciting.
6. Work-life balance
With the growth of smart technology, employees have a constant connection with their work. This can lead to mental health issues, constant stress, and burnout. With many companies putting pressure on their employees to have their work emails on their smartphones, be available to call at every hour of the day, or even to vary their work hours at a moment’s notice, it’s no wonder that these very same companies see a drop in employee retention. With 33% of salaried employees saying that they take work home with them, it’s not surprising that more than 40% of employees find themselves neglecting aspects of their home life and health because of work.
All of these factors are contributing to the rise of mental health-related sick leave and a lack of employee retention. A bad work-life balance can lead to a lack of employee engagement and work performance and a rise in missed deadlines and absenteeism. However, even if this is addressed early through a performance management program or performance improvement plan, it addresses a symptom of the issue instead of the issue itself.
7. Overwork burnout
Overworking is one of the main reasons why employees start to look for new jobs. It might seem obvious, but longer working hours mean employees have less time to rest, relax, and sleep before they’re back in the office. Not only does this mean that employee engagement is likely to drop during their working day, but it’s estimated that someone who stays up for 17 hours straight has the equivalent brain function of someone with a 0.05 blood alcohol level – which is legally drunk in some jurisdictions. In addition, employees who work longer hours also engage in fewer healthy activities outside of work.
According to Harvard Medical School, employees who work for 55 hours or more each week increase their risk of heart attack by 13%, and their risk of stroke by 33%. While some companies have attempted to address this with on-campus gyms, fitness classes, and access to bikes, many employees feel unable to access these perks as it cuts into their working day and makes it harder for them to reach deadlines.
Employee Engagement and OKRs
While success has many definitions, its most basic characteristics are goal achievement combined with highlight engaged and motivated employees
An intuitive OKR software can play a game-changing role in helping companies achieve this definition of success; it can increase the enthusiasm in teams and help them stay productive and execute with focus and alignment. Each department/team can set an OKR with an objective and measurable key results that help track the goal’s success.
The OKR framework inherently encourages Conversations, Feedback, and Rewards (CFR) within a team as OKR requires continuous conversations and weekly feedback. WIth the right OKR software, OKR progress can be available to view for the entire company, making it easy for managers to give awards and for peers to offer recognition and appreciation to their teammates throughout the quarter. This ensures that both the employee and the manager are clear about the contributions the employee makes towards the corporate goals as well as the employee’s value to the organization, eliminating the usual stress involved in the appraisal process.
Based on your organization’s unique DNA, you can plan to get started with OKRs and begin feeling the benefits of using OKRs such as better employee engagement, employee retention and company growth!
There could be several reasons that employees choose to leave your organization. The most important thing is to be aware of these situations and avoid them. The good news is that there are ways to keep employee turnover under check by using Objective and Key Results (OKRS), starting an employee engagement program within your company, or even simply being more available to hear employee grievances. Your organization must put in these efforts to keep employee engagement and job satisfaction at the top of your priorities.
It takes a committed and involved leader to provide a conducive work environment where employees feel motivated and have the right resources and tools to succeed personally and professionally. Challenge yourself to be that leader and retain your employees!
Sasi Dharan, Marketing Manager, Profit.co,
In his current role, he leads the Digital Marketing Team. He has a decade of experience in Project management, Operation Excellence Consulting, and Digital Marketing.
He is passionate about creating new approaches to brand awareness, and demand generation. He is passionate about learning new technologies, and strategies in marketing and deploying them in his organization. He is also an avid traveller and a biker who has travelled almost 7000miles in a year.
Linkedin : linkedin.com/in/sasiceo
Twitter : https://twitter.com/SasiDha56015764
Interesting Related Article: “5 Top Tips for Gainful Employment“