Top 5 Reasons Employees Leave Your Company

by Sharlyn Lauby on September 5, 2012

I ran across two interesting graphs recently showing the reasons that employees leave a company. Honestly, I don’t know if they would have captured my attention except for the fact that I saw them within days of each other. And their results were quite different.

  • The blue line represents a survey of approx. 8,000 employees looking for a new job.
  • The purple line is from a survey of 500 HR pros about workforce mobility.

HR, leadership, management, training, engagement, satisfaction, pay, benefits, graph
Click to Enlarge

Now, I really don’t know that it matters who did the survey…blah, blah, blah. The purpose of the exercise isn’t to discount anyone’s data. Instead, it should prompt a few questions:

  1. There are some definite areas that both HR and employees say are reasons people leave companies. And the reasons aren’t really shocking. We keep hearing about employee disengagement being at an all-time high. What conversations are companies having about these identified reasons for employees leaving?
  2. For some of the reasons, there’s quite a noticeable difference between the employee and HR response. IMHO, these are general survey trends and the responses could be different dependent upon an industry or company. But then the question remains…What are companies doing to make sure the information they have about employee departures is accurate?

For example, an employee walks into their manager’s office and resigns. During their exit interview, they tell HR that they’ve resigned because they found a new job that pays more and offers better benefits. HR goes to senior leadership and says “We need to improve pay and benefits to retain employees.” However truth be told, the employee started looking because their manager is a Grade-A, World-Class Jerk.

Company thinks – we need to pay more. Reality is – company needs management training.

Again, I didn’t put the chart together to really question the data. I did put it together to illustrate how critical it is for us to truly understand why employees stay with the company and why they leave. And when asked the question, does the company really know?

Because if companies don’t know the real reason, how can they possibly develop good practices to retain employees?

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