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The Number One Reason People Quit Their Jobs

Posted by Insightlink on 05/07/15

It’s interesting that marriages often fail for the same reason people quit their jobs. At work when our time and efforts are not appreciated or respected, we don’t feel valued or that what we are doing has meaning. Over time, we start not to care anymore. The same is true in our relationships with significant others, where the most common cause for divorce is a lack of respect, which, over time, also brings couples to realize that one or both simply do not care for the other anymore.

But this is not new news. We asked tens of thousands of workers to participate in our employee survey as part of our annual independent research project and found the same results. The number one driver of employee satisfaction is the level of reward and recognition they receive but employees are not getting sufficient reward and recognition where they currently work.

In an article titled, ‘The number one reason employees leave their jobs’, author Dane Hurtibise lists 7 ways to put respect back into the workplace:

1. Recognition of work

"Great job!" That's all it takes. Sixty-nine percent of employees are willing to work harder for a company that recognizes their accomplishments. Managers often forget to celebrate and only communicate when performance is low. Or, they only communicate the good elements of someone's work and do not offer any constructive feedback. For people to advance in their careers, they need to improve, and it’s difficult to improve if you are not being recognized for the work you've already done.

2. Autonomy and independence

For inexperienced managers, micromanagement is an easy trap. This, however, is inefficient for both parties and does not build a relationship based on trust and respect. Giving direct reports autonomy to do their work is key to getting more things done and unifying a team. If employees have been properly trained and have the correct avenues of communication to management, they should be able to be left alone to do their jobs. The same goes for managers. Managers need to be trained, just like everyone else.

3. Early Monday meetings

Have you ever been a part of a company that has an 8:00 a.m. meeting on Monday? That's rough. Companies think that starting off the week early is a good thing, but it sets a precedent of long working hours. No one is chipper at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday. Employees with kids are forced to balance getting them to school on time, and those who don't would much rather get the most out of their weekend and not go to bed early every Sunday. If you want to start the week off "right", have that meeting later in the day, once everyone has had a chance to get going and become focused.

4. Long hours and weekends

Working long hours has a cumulative effect on people and their families. Feeling like you are "never home" causes you to resent your job and experience additional pressure from your family when you are around. Really good companies that think long-term, know that their employees have lives and communities outside of the office. It should be a person's choice to work longer hours or on the weekends. People who love their jobs and the company they work for will work longer hours anyway, and people do better work when they have lives of their own.

5. Bored and unchallenged

Career development is a benefit and one of the main reasons people choose one job over another. If you're lucky enough to have employees who have chosen to work for you, be sure to have ways for them to grow within your organization. If you can, create opportunities for them to grow in non-linear ways. Not all projects need to lead to direct advancement, but they cannot be just “busy work” either. If an employee is feeling bored and unchallenged, they are prime candidates for departure or, worse, they could be destructive and toxic to others.

6. Optional happy hours

Have you ever had weekly, “optional” happy hours on Fridays at 5:00 p.m.? The whole office pressures one another to go, and turnout ends up being pretty good. Do not be deceived. This peer pressure and ritual ends up creating exclusion rather than inclusion. When you have events right after work, employees feel like they have to stay to be in good standing, and they end up stuck in traffic, tired, and not getting home until late. Many have commitments that are of higher priority, such as families, friends, and nonwork related activities. If your company offers outside social events, make them truly optional, less frequent, and give everyone ample time to schedule.

7. Being late

Nothing says “my time is more important than yours” than being late. Many are guilty of this one. It's an offense that over time degrades respect and reliability between coworkers. If you plan a meeting for 2:00 p.m. and people are still stumbling in at 2:15, it’s disruptive and takes away from everyone's experience and focus. If you're waiting on a co-worker to complete their part of a project and they miss the deadline, you then have to rearrange your schedule and recalibrate, creating a domino effect.

If your organization is experiencing higher than normal turnover and you want to know why, it could be time to consider implementing an employee survey. A well designed employee survey can get you the insight you need to take action to prevent good people from leaving your organization.

We have helped thousands of organizations make changes and we would love to help yours. To find out how our employee survey can measure respect and engagement in your organization and provide you with the diagnostics to see what change is needed, give us a call at 866-802-8095 ext. 705 or send us an email at






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