The average length of time an employee will spend with one company is shorter than ever. Gone are the days where an employee would get hired at a company, work 40 years at that same company, and then retire without every getting a job at a different company. The ongoing improvement in the economy and lower unemployment mean that trend is set to continue because people perceive less risk with leaving their current job. Because of the inevitability of employee turnover, business experts say that companies have 1 of 2 options: to learn what they can do to minimize employee turnover or to not learn anything and most likely see employee turnover gradually increase. The first step in the learning process is to conduct (good) exit interviews and the second step is to look for trends or common themes. Below are some common reasons, across industries, why employees make the move to other companies.
Keeping employees begins and ends with trust, or lack thereof. The data has become clear in recent years (decades really) that employees hate being micromanaged, which is a tell-tale sign of a lack of trust within an organization. An organization with lots of managers who make their front-line employees seek approval for everything and frequently question their judgement is a recipe for draining all of the trust very quickly. Likewise are organizations that stifle creativity of employees because of a lack of trust. Organizations seeking to avoid losing employees for this reason should do the opposite of these things.
A lack of appreciation is another big reason employees leave, as reported in exit surveys and research. The lack of appreciation differs depending on the motivations and personality of the employee leaving but frequently it is related to being underpaid, inaccurate (typically negative) job performance measurements, and broken promises (typically promotional opportunities). And as much as this reason applies to all employees, it especially applies to better, highly productive employees because they know their skills and abilities will get appreciated somewhere, even if it’s not at their current place of employment.
The third biggest reason for employees choosing to leave is a lack of opportunity. Some opportunities that are typically lacking include promotions, growth/development, remote-work, and more. Some organizations, especially smaller ones, have a limited capacity to address this issue if they don’t have the resources or room for growth to begin with. Such companies will have to rely on inspiration and trust from their employees that those things, while they may not be currently available, will be available in the near future.