5 Reasons Why Good Employees Leave (And How to Keep Them)

April 25, 2023

5 Reasons Why Good Employees Leave (And How to Keep Them)

Few things hurt more than when high-performing employees put in their two-weeks’ notices. It’s also less likely to be a coincidence than a sign something has gone awry within your organization.

It takes substantial time, energy, and resources to find the quality talent your business needs. That’s why creating a company culture that doesn’t drive away your best workers is essential to your long-term success. But it takes more than a few days of PTO or free-lunch Fridays to retain your leading team members.

Creating an environment where your workers feel empowered, respected, and supported is crucial to keeping your top people from walking out the door.

At CRB Workforce, we’ve placed thousands of candidates, so we know a thing or two about the workplace preferences of today’s jobseekers. We’ve compiled some of the most common reasons top talent starts searching for new opportunities and our recommendations for stopping the turnover cycle before it starts.

1. Bad Bosses

Whether they’re a raging tyrant or a lowkey micromanager, nothing will push a good employee out of your office faster than the feeling of being disrespected by a superior. Even for all the money in the world, people won’t stay with your company if managers create a hostile work environment. In fact, 25% of workers today are actively job searching due to a toxic workplace.

One of our consultants, Adam H., came to CRB after leaving a dream job at a major software company due to an abusive manager. “He had no boundaries,” Adam said. “He’d relentlessly text and email me on the weekends, or when I was on vacation. The salary and benefits were great, but it just wasn’t worth waking up every morning hating my life.”

Directors and C-suite leaders should quickly address this problem head-on. Directly talk to any particular bosses or managers struggling with high employee turnover to understand the root of the problem and identify areas for their improvement. Encourage regular feedback from employees and provide opportunities for them to express any further concerns. Consider offering management training for the boss to improve their skills and leadership abilities. This will not only help them better manage their team, but it will also reduce company turnover in the short and long run.

2. Lack of Communication

Whether your office is in-person, fully remote, or somewhere in between, solid workplace communication can make or break your team. Data shows employees who work in an environment where communication is open, timely, and accurate are more engaged and demonstrate a greater intent to stick around. In fact, 26% of employees strongly agree their manager’s feedback helps them do better work.

If leadership doesn’t communicate in an open and honest way, workers will feel alienated and disconnected from their jobs. CRB consultant Johnathan F. left his old cybersecurity position because he found that “My boss never checked in with me to see how I was doing—on projects or on personal matters. I felt like he saw me as a robot with no feelings or long-term goals.”

Make it clear in meetings, check-ins, emails, and any other internal communications that you value all employee feedback and recommendations. Your workers need to know they won’t be punished for taking risks, speaking up, or bringing new ideas to the table.

Ensure your team has access to relevant information about their team and company operations. Knowing where their work fits into the grand scheme of things gives employees a buy-in, allowing them to invest more heavily in their roles.

To better communicate within and across your departments, utilize tools like Slack or Teams to regularly check-in with and update your employees. Plan regular meetings or send out routine surveys to solicit feedback to help you identify areas for improving your overall communication culture.

3. Lack of Opportunities

It’s safe to say most professionals don’t want to stay in entry-level positions forever. If you don’t provide a clear path to promotion for your employees, they’ll seek out other companies that do. 34% of jobseekers today are leaving their current companies because they have no room for growth in their current positions.

Software developer Micheal E. came to CRB when he realized his growth path had stalled at his former company. “I liked the people and the work,” Micheal said, “but I decided to leave because I just didn’t see a way forward for myself. I was ready to lead a team.”

There are of course the classic answers to this problem: create clear career paths and offer promotions and raises. Obviously, these are great ways to show employees they have a future with your company. But in today’s economy, promotions aren’t always in the budget.

If your organization simply doesn’t have the funds to send employees upwards, consider cross-training. Encourage your employees to learn new skills that broaden their horizons within their current job title and allow them to better collaborate across teams.

For example, a software developer who understands data analysis could learn to write better code optimized for analyzing data, or they could develop tools that facilitate data analysis for other teams. On the flipside, a data analyst who understands software development could work more effectively with developers to create data-driven applications or products.

Of course, you’ll need to compensate these employees for any fresh skills they now bring to the table. But this may be a more cost-effective way to keep employees engaged if they’re on the verge of searching for something new.

4. Low Compensation

At the end of the day, your employees work for money. If the salaries you offer are stagnant or not competitive in your industry, don’t expect your best people to stay. As we’ve seen through the Great Resignation, overworking and underpaying your employees simply won’t fly anymore. The majority of workers who’ve quit jobs in the past few years have cited low pay as the major reason for their resignation.

CRB consultant Bailey C. left a high-paying engineering job with a tech start-up after they diluted her equity. “It felt like a bait and switch. Once they lowered the value of our shares, I didn’t feel like I could trust them anymore. I immediately started sending out resumes.”

It’s important to regularly review your salary and benefits packages to ensure they’re competitive with industry standards. Compare your offerings to those of others in your market and location. If your salaries aren’t up to par, it’s time to make necessary adjustments to stay attractive to high performers.

If possible, offer performance-based incentives like bonuses and profit-sharing plans to reward employees who greatly contribute to your company’s success. As a baseline, provide benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and a large helping of paid time off to offset salaries on the lower end.

5. Lack of Recognition and Appreciation

Why would a top-performing employee want to stay in a position where they’re never thanked for their hard work? Members of today’s workforce want to feel like their contributions matter, not like a cog in the machine. Publicly praising employees for their efforts is so powerful, those who don’t receive regular recognition are twice as likely to say they’ll quit their jobs in the next year.

CRB consultant Carly S. left her marketing position because she found that “Upper management would never talk to us. It was like we were beneath them. I left because it didn’t feel good to work hard and never be acknowledged.”

Creating an employee recognition strategy is an incredible low-cost, high-impact way to keep your best workers engaged and happy. Managers should recognize employees for their hard work, provide constructive feedback, and offer rewards and incentives for top employees.

Consider using tools like Lattice, Nectar, or creating a devoted Teams channel where employees can encourage each other publicly and even redeem rewards based on positive feedback they receive! If your company is active on social media, consider posting regular team member shoutouts to grow your employer brand and brag on top employees.

The Bottom Line

It’s important your employees are aligned with your company’s vision and goals. But if you want to keep top talent, it’s just as crucial you’re aligned with theirs, too. Work towards a mission and culture that high performers feel connected and committed to, and you’ll see your team—and your company—thrive.

Can’t seem to hold onto your best team members? Struggling to hire anyone at all? CRB can help. Reach out to our team today for expert guidance on building a highly engaged and efficient team.

Interested in working with us?

Whether you’re a company looking to attract the brightest minds in your industry or a candidate looking for a career change, we are here to help. We can fill your short/long term opportunities or a direct hire need.