Why employees quit

Radhika Sivadi

3 min read ·


Turnover costs you time and money. Understanding why your employees are leaving is the best way to figure out how to prevent them from quitting in the first place.

Recruiting great employees takes time, effort and money, so when they quit, it can be devastating to a small business. It also means you have to start over again with looking for new, qualified employees, which costs even more time and money. Understanding why your employees are quitting can help you develop a strategy to keep them around.

Perhaps the simplest method of discovering why employees quit is to ask them. Prevention is best, however, so even if you haven’t yet lost an employee, take a look at your business and see if there are any warning signs. You could prevent the loss of one of your best workers.

They Feel Unappreciated

When an employee is working hard and feels that no one is paying attention or recognizing his efforts, he is less likely to work hard. At some point, the lack of interest in his job becomes something unbearable and the employee will move on.

There are several ways to make an employee feel unappreciated:

  • Never acknowledging the work done or saying thank you
  • Consistently criticizing work without any compliments to add motivation
  • Praising other employees on a regular basis
  • Yelling or otherwise mistreating the employee

It can be quite simple to fix this problem. While constructive criticism is necessary in nearly all positions, you can offset it by complimenting the areas the employee has done well in. The occasional piece of public praise can do wonders, as well.

Advancement Opportunities Are Scarce

Many businesses have had to put a limit on advancement opportunities and raises because of the economy. While this is understandable, it can also be a big reason to quit. Employees may start scouting out other options when they realize that there are no raises coming and if they find a better opportunity, they will more than likely quit your company.

What can you do if there simply isn’t money for offering raises? You may be able to keep employees by offering them other benefits, such as more flexibility, the option of working from home or extra days off. Talk to your employees to find out which benefits would be most welcomed by them.

Stress Levels Are Too High

Some businesses are simply more prone to stress than others, but you may be causing some extra anxiety among your employees. Keep an eye on inter-office relationships and make sure no one is causing extra problems by treating his co-workers badly. You also have a responsibility as the boss, treat everyone who works for you with respect and don’t fly off the handle at them.

Make sure your employees feel able to talk to you and discuss when they are feeling too much stress. If your company is not conducive to family life, be sure to hire only those who have few familial obligations. You should also make it clear as to what your expectations are from the beginning.

Unrealistic Expectations

During the interview and orientation, it is possible to give a new hire the wrong impression of your business. Focusing on the good points of the business is natural, but you should also consider the other side of things. Does your employee realize that things aren’t perfect in the business? That they may need to deal with unpleasant customers or other negative aspects of the job? While you don’t want to turn them off the position, it’s best to give each person you interview an idea of the pros and cons of working for you.

When an employee realizes that the job he is doing is completely different from the one he thought he signed up for, you are likely to lose that employee. He may adapt, but often, he will simply choose to go for a different job. This can also occur if his job description changes drastically during the time he works for you.

Everything Keeps Changing

When management isn’t sure of what it’s doing, you know your employees will be confused as well. It’s not uncommon for employees to bail when they’ve had enough of the constant shuffling or changing of direction in the company.

This often occurs when there isn’t a good business plan in place to follow. Rather than move along a set path, the company is constantly changing. You might decide to move in a new direction every few months, which can not only stall your business, it will also wreak havoc on the employees and it’s inevitable that they will begin to look for better places to work.

Take a closer look at your workplace. Are you doing what you can to make it work for both your business and your employees? Is anyone overstressed or unhappy in their position? By developing relationships with those who work for you, it’s possible to spot potential issues long before they become bad enough to lose someone over.

Radhika Sivadi