7 Real Reasons Why People Leave Their Jobs (and How to Fix Them)

By: Anastasia Iliou

Throughout your career, you’ll see employees leave to take care of their kids, move across the country, take external promotions, and more - but when disgruntled employees leave, the reasons can usually be broken down into a few categories. 

It blows my mind how often employers are shocked that their employees are leaving. They take it personally, but they don’t ask themselves why it happened. In most cases, a person does not leave a good job because they only get 12 vacation days; they leave because of one of the following:

Photo by  CoWomen  on  Unsplash

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

Lack of Trust and Autonomy

It’s hard to be productive when you have a manager over your shoulder all the time. When an employee feels micromanaged, the issue lies more in the resounding feelings of distrust than in the actual micromanaging. A good employee knows the importance of a great manager’s guidance but also wants to feel trusted and respected. 

If you notice a trend where people are leaving the same manager, it may be worth your time to look into that person’s management style (especially if it’s your own). Are the employees given zero autonomy, even on a small scale? Do you require them to ask for permission and approval for every single task? If the answers are, “yes,” then one of two things is happening: either you aren’t hiring people you can trust, or you are holding trustworthy employees back.

No appreciation

Everyone wants to be appreciated, whether they will admit it or not. A good employee who knows her worth is going to leave if she feels under-appreciated. What happens in your office when someone is successful? You don’t need to cheer and clap for every minor accomplishment, but even a “good job!” can make an employee smile. It’s frustrating to feel under-appreciated, especially when you know you’ve done great work. If you want to keep your employees around longer, be sure to congratulate them on jobs well done. If you can spare it, consider taking your employees out to lunch when they hit major goals, or throwing them small bonuses after completing projects. 



Bad coworkers

Sometimes, great relationships with coworkers are what keep employees from jumping ship. When you fit a bunch of strangers under one roof for at least 40 hours a week, chances are that they are not all going to like each other. So, when you find a group that works well, you better hang on to it with all you’ve got! 

Look around your office. Do your employees ignore each other? Do they avoid meetings and team projects? When your employees aren’t friendly with each other, you can end up with a hostile work environment. Your team doesn’t have to spend time together outside of work, and they don’t have to be each other’s best friends, but they have to get along. If you notice that your employees are not getting along, try to find the root of the problem. Is there one person in particular who seems to be stirring the pot? If so, it may be time to consider whether or not it is worth keeping him around. Is there a large group of people causing drama? Well, then, it may be time to call an HR meeting and to think about adding personality questions to your hiring strategy.

The wrong job description or lack of promotion

Imagine this scenario: a man NAILS his interview, has a great first-year performance, and then suddenly grows stagnant and seemingly uncaring. If your employees stop climbing (and start leaving), they might have the wrong job description in their hands. Step one is determining whether or not that is your fault. Did you change his daily responsibilities? Did his role morph into something that he wasn’t prepared for? Not only is it completely unfair to expect a person to switch roles without interviewing for it, but it reduces their trust and respect for you as a leader. 

Alternatively, did your employee reach a ceiling in his position and cannot move up due to the employees above him? Often, when employees are frustrated, it’s because they recognize their own potential but don’t see a growth path. Work with your team to develop clear career trajectories.

Never-ending stress

All too often, we are taught that stress is a normal part of career progression and that it means we’re doing something right. That’s only half true. As we grow in our careers, we have to be able to learn how to take on the extra responsibility and OWN it. Employees who keep growing but never have a stress-free moment are going to eventually get burnt out and leave. 

When one of your employees is stressed, you HAVE to take some responsibility. Sure, there is a chance that your employee is psyching himself out or is getting stressed due to external factors. However, you have to start by asking yourself questions like, “does he have too much work on his plate? Can I give some to another employee? Do we need to hire a second person for this?” There’s a good chance that some of your employee’s stress can be alleviated with better planning.

Bad work-life balance

Photo by  rawpixel.com  from  Pexels

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Stress and work-life balance are two completely different things. Even the most ambitious, hardest-working employee you have is going to want other things in life besides your company. Whether it’s a big family with a dog or endless frequent flier miles, your employees will all naturally have other passions. Sometimes a lack of work-life balance is 100% on the employee, for feeling the need to check their email all the time even when they don’t have to. Other times, it has to do with the culture you’ve created. Look in the mirror and figure out whether or not you are fostering an environment where blurring the lines between personal and professional is encouraged. 

Disconnect between values and purpose

Purpose seems to be the most under-appreciated factor in a person’s job search. If you and your employees do not see eye-to-eye on your company’s mission statement, they are never going to be truly happy in their roles. Plus, your mission statement can’t only be for the press. You have to be honest about your mission and your values so that your employees can get behind you. You can overpay by 100% and still have miserable employees if you lack a positive purpose that you practice every day. Imagine working for a company whose mission is to save the environment, and then watching the CEO throw trash out her car window? You would never be able to truly believe in the company! If you aren’t living your purpose, your employees won’t, either.


About the Author: Anastasia is a songwriter, blogger, and freelance writer living in Nashville with her fiancé and their four fur babies. When she's not writing her heart out, she's traveling (looking for more things to write about).

Noelle Johnson