Many managers believe that the main reason employees quit is because they perceive themselves to be inadequately compensated. And that means primarily salary (or wages), but benefits come into play here as well. In discussions of how to reduce employee attrition, the answer businesses first consider (and typically reject) is pay raises.
Infosurv Research conducts many employee satisfaction surveys, and we looked across several that we conducted recently to determine the causes of employee dissatisfaction.
And, perhaps surprising to many, it’s not all about the money. In our research the top four causes of disengaged employees are:
- Poor communications
- Lack of training or employee development opportunities
- Not treating employees with respect
- Not holding employees accountable
While those are the main causes of disengaged employees, there may be more reasons for employee attrition. (After all, and perhaps unfortunately, disengaged employees are not always the ones who quit!)
According to management consultant Susan Healthfield, here are the top 10 reasons why employees quit:
- Relationship with boss. Your boss has too much impact on your day-to-day work to not be the main reason for attrition.
- Bored and unchallenged by the work itself. No one wants to be bored. Everyone wants to be challenged. Help them find their passion.
- Relationships with co-workers. Second only to the boss, co-workers can make or break the workplace.
- Opportunities to use skills and abilities. Using our skills and abilities gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Contribution of work to the organization’s business goals. Employees want to contribute, but many don’t see how their work connects with the business.
- Autonomy and independence. Similar to our finding about the need to hold people accountable, employees need to be empowered to do their jobs. (Interestingly, the more education your employees have the more they desire autonomy and independence.)
- Meaningfulness of job. Again, related to how an employee’s work relates to the business, we all want to be engaged in meaningful work. While we may not be curing cancer, it’s up to the manager to help the employee see the meaning in their labor.
- Organization’s financial stability. Obviously, employees who are worried about their jobs leave to find other more reliable employers.
- Overall corporate culture. Not the top of the list, but poor or toxic corporate culture is definitely a reason for employee attrition.
- Management’s recognition of employee job performance. While many surveys place employee recognition higher of the list, this is where it turned up in a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
The interesting thing about these 10 factors – they are all under your control. So if you want to stop conducting exit interviews with your best employees, you might consider conducting an employee satisfaction and engagement survey to identify your specific issues beforehand. After all, addressing some of these concerns will be far less costly than either the cost of a survey or the cost of finding replacement talent!
Read our blog series on employee engagement for more info on improving employee satisfaction.