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Improving Workplace Retention — 5 Reasons Why Employees Quit

By Erika Rahman
Illustration of Carl the yeti holding a giant magnet representing workplace retention.

If you’re an HR professional and wondering how to improve employee retention, the best place to start is looking at why people leave in the first place! Exit interviews are a really valuable tool for gathering data on this — but ideally, you want to have identify (and resolve) the issue waaaaaay before a two-weeks-notice.

Here are some of the key reasons employees quit, and how you can improve employee retention by making important changes at work.

1. Better pay and conditions elsewhere

Sometimes there isn’t a super obvious reason for an employee leaving. They seemed content enough in their role and hadn’t really brought up any issues; a better opportunity just...came along!

This is a situation that you can prevent pretty often, and keep those grade A employees. A lot of people start looking for a new roles because they feel they’ve hit the growth ceiling, or that they’re being underpaid for the work they do. So, be open to comparing industry compensation standards and make it a point to talk to your employees about their career goals.

2. Job insecurity

image with text - Prioritize effective and frequent communication to let your employees know how they’re doing.

This was a major issue during COVID-19. Many employees found themselves in an uncertain position or feeling left out in the cold by management. So, they began to reassess their value and look for something better. This isn’t just a situation that occurs during global pandemics, either — it can arise at just about any time, for a huge range of reasons! Prioritize effective and frequent communication to let your employees know how they’re doing, otherwise you risk losing them down the line.

3. Work/life balance skews in the wrong direction

Even the most career-minded individuals have interests and passions outside of the office. So while crunch periods are pretty normal in a lot of industries, if you’re continually expecting your employees to sacrifice their outside lives for your company, there has to be compensation to match. Team members who feel that the balance between work and life is swinging too far in the work direction are probably going to get burnt out and start looking for another opportunity.

4. Poor company culture

image with text - Positive culture is critical for improving employee retention in the long term.

Poor employee retention is directly tied to poor company culture. There are a lot of different factors that can and will influence a company’s overall culture. It might be time to take a deep dive into your company culture and see where you can improve—and also where you’re crushing it! Where that starts will vary on a company-to-company basis, but there are a few questions that can really help you get the ball rolling.

If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, then it’s time to start thinking about the reasons why, and how you can change it...ASAP. Positive culture is critical for improving employee retention in the long term.

5. Sometimes, it’s not about you

image with text - Employees don’t always leave because something is wrong. Sometimes they just need something that is a better fit.

Although it’s always important to look at why prior employees have left to avoid similar issues in the future, there are times where employees simply aren’t a good fit, and that’s okay! They might have a values clash with your organization that isn’t evident until the hiring process has been finalized. For reasons unrelated to work, they may simply not be in the headspace to continue in their role. Although these are important points to consider and look out for in the future, employees don’t always leave because something is wrong. Sometimes they just need something that is a better fit for them and for the company.

Learn more about how to improve employee retention and motivation with Motivosity

Looking for ways to enhance how your company retains talent? The team at Motivosity can help. We offer a variety of ways that employers and employees can Connect, Listen, Recognize and Lead. But why not get started with our employee resources?

Once you’re ready to take the next step, get in touch with our team — we look forward to hearing from you.

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