6 reasons why employees quit & the proactive steps management should take right now

The average tenure of an employee these days is 1.5 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All of that churn is expensive. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars or even surpass an employee’s salary to replace them, according to HuffPost contributor Jack Altman, CEO of Lattice, a performance management software company. The maxim is just as true for staffing as it is for sales or fundraising: Retention is more cost effective than finding someone new. That’s why a focus on nurturing relationships is an investment worth making in all aspects of business strategy. Even though our business is recruiting, we always prioritize our clients’ best interests, so in this post we hope to shed light on why employees quit — and what management can do about it.

The average tenure of an employee these days is 1.5 years — that churn is expensive. Many times, the factors for quitting are ones management can control. Learn the 6 reasons why employees quit and what management can do.

Yes, salary can be one reason why good employees leave. More often than not, though, relational factors that leadership can control top the list. “People leave managers, not companies,” writes leadership strategist Victor Lipman in his book The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World, excerpted for Forbes.

Why do employees leave? Here are 6 reasons

There are a number of reasons why employees quit. The reasons, of course, are seldom black and white.

Limited future

When people feel boxed in, they naturally begin to look for an escape route. Employees need to feel like they have opportunities to build their skills and their careers.

Prevention: Effective management includes listening to employees’ career goals and providing ways for them to pursue new learning and advancement. This type of support encourages feelings of loyalty rather than constriction.


Employees will hesitate to commit to a company if they don’t have confidence that it has a clear future. They don’t want to be in a holding pattern or, worse yet, go down with a floundering ship.

Prevention: An employer that regularly and clearly communicates the corporate vision and goals and is transparent about the numbers builds confidence in their staff. To feel part of a team, your employees need to see the future and their role in building it.

Toxic work environment

Passive-aggressive manipulation, bullying, abuse, or inequality are all reasons why good employees leave.

Prevention: Management sets the tone for healthy, respectful work relationships and leads appropriate conflict resolution by example. When necessary, the employee who is souring the whole team culture may need to be removed to protect everyone else’s feeling of safety and ability to do their best work.

Read our article on how to protect your corporate culture from high-performing jerks.

Too few check-ins

Annual reviews used to be the norm, but that’s not enough these days, especially when the average employee’s tenure is 1.5 years. “Most experts agree that more frequent reviews are better, especially with millennials,” writes Sharon Florentine, senior writer at CIO.

Prevention: Wise managers will welcome this rhythm as an opportunity to nurture clear two-way communication. Asking good questions and listening to the answers will yield valuable information and establish rapport.  Following up promptly on any concerns or suggestions given by the employee will communicate respect.

Read our article on how to create and guard open workplace communication.

Outdated tech

Employees who are not provided with the tools they need to be successful in fulfilling job expectations will become frustrated. They will feel thwarted at doing the work they know they are capable of. When they express what they need and are ignored, they will feel devalued.

Prevention: Updating tech might be expensive, but it usually costs less than replacing an employee with someone who will most likely become just as frustrated when they, in turn, are expected to work with those same outdated tools.

Emotions have a lot to do with why employees quit

Overall, most reasons why employees quit have to do with feeling devalued and with management issues. As an antidote to why good employees leave, “Collaborate, communicate and listen,” writes Louise Kursmark for Monster. “Happy employees accomplish amazing things.”

Just one more retention issue before we close…

The final reasons also relates to management, and it’s one Bradsby Group can help you with.

Poor fit

Discerning which job candidates will best fit the position and your culture is challenging. When the fit is not right, job satisfaction plummets. Sometimes a good fit goes bad when an employee who has demonstrated skill in their field is promoted to a supervisory role only to have it become obvious that their strengths do not include management.

Prevention: Leadership training may correct the situation. Other times, hiring someone new for that management position is the best solution.

Here at Bradsby Group, we have decades of experience working in tandem with our clients to profile the professionals who will best fit their organization, then sourcing talented candidates who fit the profile. We want you to have long, happy, profitable associations with your employees. Contact us today to tell us your needs and discuss your staffing strategy.

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