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Retention: Why Top Employees Leave

It’s often said that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit people. There is a good deal of truth in this, as most reasons employees choose to leave an organization are fully within the employer’s control. In an era where good employees are a commodity, employees would be wise to take note and do whatever possible to retain their top talent.

Below are the top reasons employees move on, and what you can do to keep your best employees on board.


Bad Bosses

Often the top reason for seeking other opportunities is the employee’s relationship with his or her direct supervisor. The reason for this is simple: the boss is an integral piece of the employee’s day-to-day work life. It’s important the employee feels there is a mutual respect and direct line of communication with the supervisor.


Unchallenging Work

The days of employees punching in and punching out are behind us. Employees want a career they are passionate about. As our work culture shifts to one where the employee is always “on,” this makes sense. Employees can no longer fully leave work at work, so make sure they are happy with their work life. Work closely with them to ensure they are engaged and excited about their contribution to the company, and that they feel challenged to continue pushing themselves to deliver the best work possible. If you don’t, they will find an employer who will.



There is a high connection to employee job satisfaction and the ability to make decisions about how they do their jobs. On the flip-side, those who feel over-regulated by management are much more likely to look for new opportunities elsewhere. Organizations that empower their employees to ask questions, share ideas and take initiative with their roles tend to see not only a greater rate of retention, but more employee enthusiasm leading to improved work output and better work product.



Perhaps less simple to define, overall company culture plays a key role in whether employees stay or go. Because employees spend a significant portion of their lives at work, a positive environment in paramount. Additionally, after supervisors, coworkers have a major impact on an employee happiness. Good relationships with coworkers helps keep turnover to a minimum, so if you sense tension, try and step in to help solve the issue.


No Recognition

Employees are human, and we all appreciate a pat on the back every now and then, particularly for those who perform above expectations. By rewarding your top employees, you reinforce that you are noticing their contributions and accomplishments. It’s important for managers to communicate with employees and recognize a job well done. Likewise, tolerating poor performance has a negative impact on morale and is demotivating for those who want to give their best work. If employers permit a weak link to skate by, it drags everyone down, particularly top performers. Make sure you are not just rewarding great performance, but addressing less than stellar performance as well. It will keep everyone more motivated.


To learn more about recruiting and retaining the best employee talent, call 630-858-8500 or email for more information.