Why They Leave

Jan 24, 2019

By Leigh Branham

Here, in order, are the 10 most frequently mentioned issues that surfaced when departing employees told Saratoga Institute what their employer did poorly, prompting their decision to leave their job.

1. Poor management: Comments focused mostly on uncaring, incompetent, and unprofessional managers; there were also complaints about being overworked, not getting respect, not having their ideas listened to, and being put in the wrong jobs, as well as the company’s making no effort to retain staff, emphasizing speed more quality, and being abusive. There were also many comments about poor or nonexistent methods of selecting managers. (unmet needs: trust, worth, hope, and competence)

2. Lack of career growth and advancement opportunity: Comments were mainly about having no perceivable career path, but also mentioned companies’ failure to post jobs or to fill jobs from within and unfair promotions or favoritism. (Unmet needs: hope trust, and competence)

3. Poor communications: Comments were mostly about poor top-down communication from managers and senior leaders and lack of openness with information but also mentioned were poor communications between departments, from the human resources department, from corporate offices to field offices, and following mergers. (Unmet needs: trust and worth)

4. Pay: Comments were mostly about not being fair market rates and not being paid in proportion toothier contributions and hard work. Respondents also complained of pay inequities, slow pay raises, favoritism in giving raises and bonuses, and ineffective performance appraisal processes. (Unmet needs: trust and worth)

5. Lack of recognition. This issue is connected to issues of pay and workload, but there were many comments about the organization’s culture not being one that encourages recognition of employee contributions. (Unmet need: worth)

6. Poor senior leadership: Comments asserted that companies don’t care about, listen to, or invest in employees but also mentioned leaders being isolated, remote, and unresponsive, failing to provide an inspiring vision or direction, sending mixed messages, and making too many changes in direction and poor organizational structure. (Unmet need: trust and worth)

7. Lack of training: Comments were mainly about employees not receiving enough training to do their current jobs properly but also cited the poor quality of training, being rushed through superficial training, not being allowed to attend training, lack of new-hire training, poor management training, and lack of training for future advancement. (Unmet need: worth, hope, and competence)

8. Excessive Workload: Commenters mainly spoke about being asked to do more with fewer staff, but also mentioned that quality and customer service is sacrificed to “make the numbers.” (Unmet needs: worth and competence)

9. Lack of Tools and Resources: Comments cited a range of issues, including lack of office supplies, malfunctioning computers, outdated technology, and insufficient staffing. (Unmet needs: worth, hope, and competence)

10. Lack of Teamwork: Comments werre about lack of cooperation and commitment to get the job done among co-workers but also mentioned a lack of coordination between departments or different locations. (Unmet needs: trust and competence)

Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave (Second Edition) by Leigh Branham. Copyright 2012, Leigh Branham. Published by AMACOM.

About the Author(s)

Leigh Branham is founder/principal of the consulting firm Keeping the People, Inc., and widely recognized as an authority on employee engagement. He is the author of Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business.