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Top 4 Reasons Good Employees Quit – and How to Fix it

By Sep Barkhodaee
Published on July 23, 2013

Why do employees resign? A recent study by PwC of 19,000 exit interviews within their firm has shed some light on the chief reasons that employees resign from organizations. As expected, there were a wide range of reasons that included poor communication, lack of recognition or even frustrating in-person or web based training among many others. Filtering through all the rationale though, the top 4 reasons employees were voluntarily resigning from the business were:

  • 1 – Lack of or limited career/promotion opportunities
  • 2 – Poor relationship with direct line manager
  • 3 – Not enough pay
  • 4 – Job duties boring/no challenge

These findings are in no way isolated as another equally exhaustive study by Gallup of 44 organizations and 10,600 business units confirmed these finding, showing that employees are quitting for similar reasons. But importantly, what they both agree on was that the top reason for employees leaving voluntarily is down to a lack of career development.

This study is a clear call to action for HR teams to begin addressing any potential retention issues within their organization. And below I reviewed these top four reasons for employees quitting and outlined 4 corrective actions that HR can take to address these issues.

1 – Lack of or limited career/promotion opportunities.

Organizations should consider using annual appraisals and career development plans so that employees can create a career road map. Employees should be encouraged and given the opportunities to be developing their skills through a combination of tutor led or self directed learning in order that they can improve their skills and increase their promotion chances. But more importantly, organizations should operate an equal opportunities policy on all internal vacancies making sure they are advertised internally to all staff before being advertised externally, where possible. Promote from within, whenever possible.

2 – Poor relationship with direct line manager.

This is another issue that can be partially addressed through training, be it in-person or online training. Organizations should be looking at giving line managers specific guidance and training in effective coaching, feedback and team leadership to improve/optimize line manager subordinate relations.

3 – Not enough pay.

Employers should engage in annual pay benchmarking exercises (particularly in volatile industries like IT) to make sure they are not falling behind market rate and therefore susceptible to losing staff to higher paying employers.

4 – Job duties are boring or present no challenge.

This can’t be fixed overnight, but can be addressed through an effective annual appraisal program where the employee is allowed to input on their own development, career and job goals over the year and beyond.

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