Why employees leave. 9 Lessons learnt from online job review sites

Reading through work-related review sites such as Glassdoor provides some very sombre reading on the job market and the companies that provide these jobs.

It is true that most of the people who review companies and jobs are those who are either disgruntled at one end or ecstatic at the other, and that many more shades of grey exist between the two extremes.

Having said this, it is still very relevant to note that one can easily distill most of the comments into as few as 9 reasons why people decide to leave, no matter the country, company size or industry.

Interestingly, while remuneration-related aspects are considered important, more often than not it is non-remuneration aspects which push employees to seek greener pastures. And all of these factors are in management’s control.

  • Not being allowed to work autonomously. While situations differ, one of the top reasons why employees leave their job is that they sense a lack of trust in them by managers who thrive on micromanagement. As long as an employee is achieving what is expected, breathing down one’s neck never helps.
  • A lack of flexibility. Many believe that while they are expected to be flexible, they don’t sense the same flexibility from their bosses. Many times, this relates to being allowed to work flexible hours or remotely, to help employees achieve a better work-life balance.
  • No opportunity for growth. No advancement opportunity. No training. Employees would rather move upward within their existing company than having to work elsewhere to achieve this. And it makes sense for the company too.
  • Not being involved in decisions which affect them. Most employees take their work and the company that employs them very seriously. In return, they feel that they should be consulted or at least informed before-hand of any major developments, rather than get to know from other sources.
  • Working within a culture of blame. With all the disruption happening in most industries, it is a recognised fact that allowing employees to experiment, at the cost of failing, helps the company adapt and survive. It follows then that an atmosphere where employees are scared to try out new things runs counter to this.
  • Too many useless meetings. When meetings become an end in themselves, then you know that management has lost the plot.
  • Not feeling enough appreciation for your work. You feel that the extra effort you put into your work in not being rewarded (perhaps in relation to what others are getting too.) Feeling that others are being pushed upwards because of their connections rather than their abilities doesn’t help either.
  • When someone feels that they are being underutilised, they feel bored and compelled to look for more challenging opportunities elsewhere.
  • Employees are becoming more and more conscious that there is a life after work and that their job should allow them ample opportunity to achieve the right balance.

All the reasons identified can be mitigated by fostering effective communication that goes beyond the usual meetings and annual performance reviews. It is all about having a relationship with employees which allows them to be open to discuss any issues which affect them, rather than an atmosphere which pushes employees to seek greener pastures.