According to a new report by the Work Institute – the global research firm focusing on employee retention and engagement – over 75% of the reasons employees leave their jobs could have been prevented by their employer.
“Employers are missing the mark on improving retention for two main reasons,” explains Work Institute president Danny Nelms. “First, employers are not taking steps to understand their unique workforce; and second, they are not using exit interview methodologies that are dependable in revealing the real reasons employees leave.”
The scientific study analyzed over 240,000 exit interviews accumulated over the past seven years, to come up with the top ten reasons employees leave their companies:
- Career Development
- Work Environment
- Management Behavior
- Job Characteristics
- Compensation and Benefits
- Work-life Balance
Career Development ranked highest among the reasons employees leave their jobs, with over one in five workers citing a lack of understanding of the job’s nature or opportunities to progress professionally as the main reasons for leaving.
The researchers broke Career Development down into five main sub-reasons, namely:
- Type of work – employees’ expectations not matching the type of work actually involved
- Growth and development – lack of opportunities to learn, grow, and be challenged in their work
- Advancement opportunities – the feeling of having reached a professional “dead end”
- Promotion – opportunities to take on higher-level roles elsewhere
- School – employees’ decision to return to school to further their education
In order to improve employee retention, firms need to address the issue strategically, with HR executives leading the charge. The Work Institute suggested four ways to keep your employees onboard:
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- Create the conditions of a preferred employer. Oftentimes, organisations place more emphasis on finding the people who fit the workplace as opposed to shaping the workplace to fit the best people.
- Show the financial impact of turnover. HR is often given the mandate to manage employee retention, but seldom given a seat at the decision making table. By revealing the economic loss that accompanies these employees out the door, HR practitioners can leverage their way into calling the shots.
- Ask the right way in your organisation. When employees express wanting to leave, ask them why. Without an accurate understanding of why employees leave, there’s no way to figure out how to keep them. Give them a voice, and not simply a ratings box to check.
- Understand and act according to the data. As Career Development was the most common reason cited for leaving, firms should consider career achievement systems to allow for advancement within roles and vocation seminars to connect skills, passion, and goals to the workplace.