4 reasons employees quit their jobs

Turnover is costly in monetary terms, but it also saps morale—and becomes contagious. Take a look at these areas to keep your staff cohesive and productive.

The expense of losing an employee is more than the cost of bringing one on board, yet companies continually let good workers slip through their hands. The reasons why employees leave can vary, but one thing is for sure, employers don’t hold all the cards, even in a tough job market.

“Companies can’t look at employees as expendable commodities,” says Pat Sweeney, human resources manager at Old Colony Hospice and Palliative Care. “There may be a high unemployment rate, but it’s not all skilled people. If you’re just looking at your bottom line, you want to make sure your employees feel valued.”

Turnover can be expensive. According to Salary.com, it costs a company from 120 percent to 150 percent of the person’s salary if they leave within three months. Not only do companies invest money and time orienting a new worker, there are also training, benefits and recruitment costs. So, it behooves a company to create an environment where employees want to stay.

From employing bad managers to not providing career growth, here’s a look at four factors that push employees out the door.

Bad management

A lot of companies pride themselves on promoting internally, but sometimes that strategy can backfire if the person assigned to a management role isn’t up to the task.

“Leadership skills are not intuitive and well taught,” says Carl Robinson, a business psychologist and executive coach. “Really talented people will not put up with jerk bosses; they don’t need to. There’s a shortage of talented, smart people.” Unfortunately, Robinson says, very few companies provide adequate management training to help supervisors interact and communicate with employees.

Lack of career growth

Nobody accepts a position with the intent of doing the same job for his or her entire career. People want to grow professionally; if they can’t, chances are they will leave. If your company needs to attract and retain highly skilled workers, then you better make sure you are providing growth opportunities.

“Companies owe it to their employees to invest in their development,” says Susan Heathfield, the guide to human resources for About.com. “It doesn’t always take an outside seminar or sending them away. There is much you can do internally.” Heathfield points to job shadowing of a higher-up, mentoring programs, and internal training as three examples that won’t break the bank. “Companies are not doing a good job of career development,” she says.

Letting employees fend for themselves

In every organization there are those go-getters who make it known to anyone who will listen that they want to climb the ladder. Then there are the introverts who do good work but don’t possess self-promotional skills. Often those in the latter camp will get passed up for promotions even if they deserve them, which can breed resentment and eventually result in their departure.

“Often companies may be guilty of saying, ‘You own your career; go find the opportunity,’ but for people that are not outgoing, they don’t understand the concept of finding a mentor or finding career growth,” says Abby Euler, general manager at Salary.com. Companies need to understand the different types of personalities and make sure there is clear communication about how to find a mentor and move up in the organization, she says.

Not valuing and respecting workers

Let’s face it: Money and benefits do matter, but workers also want to feel valued and respected and that they are making a contribution. If a company can’t meet those basic needs, it will probably deal with lots of turnover. Feeling valued not only entails getting recognition for a job well done but being kept in the loop about workplace issues. If all major decisions are made behind closed doors and the workers are the last to know, it will create uncertainty, which could prompt departures, says Sweeney.

Employees also want to work for companies that actually care about their work/life balance. “Companies have to be sensitive to what employees need outside the office,” says Sweeney. She says they need to ask themselves: Are they listening to what their employees have to say, is there open communication, and is there flexibility in schedules?

Donna Fuscaldo is a freelance journalist from Long Island, N.Y. A version of this article first appeared on Glassdoor.com.

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