Why do employees quit? Look at the five biggest reasons

Pay and leadership are the main factors influencing employee turnover.

How can you keep your best workers around? The best way is to focus on the specific factors that influence whether people stay or go.

Quantum Workplace recently released a study on the predictors of employee turnover, which tends to rise as the unemployment rate falls. Simply stated, when your employees have more options, they’re more likely to leave.

Here are Quantum’s top five predictors of turnover:

1. Lack of job satisfaction

2. Individual needs unmet (health, well-being, work/life balance)

3. Poor team dynamics

4. Misalignment (you hired the wrong person for the job)

5. Unlikely to stay (oh, really?)

I’ll grant them the first four reasons; those are all valid factors that cause staff to skedaddle. Number five is just silly.

What are the real turnover predictors? Here are my top five:

1. My boss is a jerk.

2. I hate what I’m doing, so I’m unwilling to put up with any nonsense.

3. I oversold myself and I will most likely fail, so I’m leaving for a new position before you fire me.

4. I’m a bit crazy and my co-workers hate me, so I need to find new co-workers to creep out.

5. You’re underpaying me for what I’m doing and we both know it.

Bad bosses and lousy pay will make your staff scatter faster than anything else. Organizations try to get away with being cheapskates and keeping loathed bosses on board, yet still seem mystified by poor retention.

If you ask an organization who their worst managers are and which department is underpaid, that’s almost always where the highest turnover is. It’s not rocket science.

People will leave if the market is paying more for similar work and your organization is just average. If you want to keep your superstars around, pay people well and make sure your managers are encouraging, competent, understanding people. That’s the best way to keep turnover to a minimum.

A version of this post originally appeared on Tim Sackett’s blog.

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