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Why people leave.

Jeff Burkhart famously said that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers, and in my experience, it is usually because of flexibility, or a lack of it. A lack of engagement and interest in them personally, their human needs, and how the business can support their wellbeing and development through life’s journey, or during difficult times. Lack of compassion is a huge factor.


For women often the dearth of affordable childcare is a decision maker, or the time and support they need to give elderly relatives. Intransigence from employers refusing to offer flexible work can make it impossible to stay.

We’ve all read about the legions of people in their ‘50’s and ‘60’s who retired early from the workforce following the pandemic, particularly in wealthy areas where perhaps they’d lucked out on the housing market and managed to become mortgage-free.

And of course, there are the happy times when it’s just time for an employee to move on in their journey, continue their development and pursue their dreams elsewhere.

In today's dynamic employment landscape, employees seek career advancement, personal growth, and job satisfaction, and these are some of the common reasons that prompt people to embark on a new professional journey, highlighting the significance of these factors in shaping career trajectories.

Ineffective Leadership and Management (Bad boss syndrome)

The influence of leaders and managers on employee satisfaction and engagement cannot be overstated. Poor leadership characterised by a lack of communication, a failure to provide clear direction, micromanagement, and a lack of support can erode employee morale and productivity. Employees may feel undervalued and unappreciated, prompting them to seek positions where they feel their contributions are acknowledged and their growth is fostered. Ask yourself – am I the best boss I can be?

Lack of Growth and Development Opportunities

One of the primary drivers behind employee attrition is the absence of growth and development prospects within their current roles. Individuals crave opportunities to enhance their skill sets, acquire new knowledge, and climb the corporate ladder. When employees perceive limited avenues for advancement or feel their potential is being stifled, they will seek new roles that offer greater professional development prospects.

Insufficient Compensation and Benefits

Financial considerations play a pivotal role in job satisfaction. If employees believe they are being inadequately compensated for their efforts or that their benefits package is sub-par, they may choose to seek employment elsewhere. Competitive salaries, bonuses, private health cover, retirement plans, and other benefits are key factors in attracting and retaining talented individuals.

Poor Work-Life Balance

The pursuit of a healthy work-life balance is increasingly important in today's fast-paced world. When employees find it difficult to maintain equilibrium between their personal and professional lives, it can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction. A lack of flexible work arrangements, long working hours, excessive workload, and a culture that does not value downtime can all contribute to employees' decisions to leave their jobs in search of a more balanced lifestyle.

Limited Recognition and Reward Systems

Employees thrive in environments where their hard work and achievements are acknowledged and rewarded. A lack of recognition can demotivate individuals and undermine their sense of job satisfaction. Organisations that fail to implement effective reward systems, such as regular feedback, performance-based bonuses, and opportunities for advancement, may find their employees seeking gratification elsewhere.

Cultural Mismatch

The organisational culture plays a pivotal role in shaping employee experiences. When individuals find themselves in a work environment that conflicts with their values, beliefs, and work style, it can create a sense of discomfort and hinder their performance. A misalignment between an employee's personal and organisational values may prompt them to explore alternative workplaces that are more aligned with their principles and preferences.

Limited Opportunities for Autonomy and Influence

Employees often crave autonomy and the ability to make decisions that impact their work. A lack of empowerment can be demoralising and restrict employees' ability to innovate and contribute fully. When individuals feel their opinions are not valued and their ideas are ignored, they may seek positions that offer greater opportunities for autonomy and influence. Increasingly, your talent wants to believe in your company purpose and match your values, and they’ll leave if they feel they can’t.

In a nutshell, the decision to leave a job is rarely haphazard; it is typically driven by a combination of factors that affect an individual's overall job satisfaction and impede the trajectory they’d like to be on.

The first step to halting high attrition is of course to recruit capable and passionate talent, who share your values, have a fire lit and fit with your principles. Thankfully royall are gifted at finding talent who not only ‘can do’ their job, but ‘fly’ when doing it.

Do get in touch if you need advice on how to attract, and retain, the best talent for your business.


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