Why Your Best Employees Quit

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Board-755789A recent Department of Labor statistic showed that the average American employee now changes jobs every 1.5 years.  That constant turnover costs business owners valuable time and money.  It takes time and money to interview, hire, and train new employees.  Then it can take a year or two for them to reach full efficiency in their job.  That is why it is so disruptive to a business to have constant turnover.  This is especially true for small business owners, most of which have fewer than 10 employees.  Losing even one can put a big dent in their ability to market and deliver their product profitably. 

Here are some of the key reasons employees quit:

  • They don’t like their boss.  You don’t have to be friends with your employees, but you do have to treat them with respect.  Always remember the Golden Rule and treat them the way you would like to be treated if you were an employee again. 
  • The work is not challenging.  If you want to hire superstars, you need to challenge them.  If they are bored, they will quit. 
  • No vision is communicated.  People want to be part of something important.  Your employees need to believe that what they do is important and will make your customer’s life better. 
  • No loyalty.  Sadly, there is little loyalty in business.  But if you want loyalty, you must first be loyal.  If you have a good employee who makes a mistake, don’t just fire them!  Counsel them.  Heck, if it a rare mistake from an otherwise good employee, just forget it and move on.  I often tell my employees that the only people who don’t make mistakes aren’t working. 
  • Bad relationships with their co-workers.  One of the things that must be considered when you add someone to your team is how you think they will fit in with your current employees.  Be careful not to hire a superstar who might be disruptive. 
  • Ability to work autonomously.  No one likes to be nitpicked or micromanaged.  Establish systems, train the employee, and then let them work.  Allowing employees to make independent decisions within the systems leads to happier employees. 
  • The organization’s financial stability.  Your best employees will look for a more secure business to work for if they see you laying off employees, cutting hours, freezing pay, or losing customers. 
  • They are not having fun.  Yes, there is work to be done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it.  Lighten up and look for ways to make work more enjoyable. 
  • No career advancement path available.  The majority of graduates would rather work for a company that offers a clear career path over one offering a higher initial salary.  Make sure you discuss with each employee what career paths are available to them. 
  • Excess stress and unreasonable expectations.  This slow economy has forced companies to cut back, sometimes to the point of overworking employees.  Be sure you are not burning out your best employees. 
  • No recognition of a job well done.  “Good job!” seems to be a hard thing for business owners to say.  They worry that they will have to give the employee a raise.  A bigger concern should be that the employee will find another place to work. 

Notice that nothing on this list really costs you money.  They just require clearer communication and more planning by the business owner.