The Real Reasons Why Your Staff Leave Their Jobs

The days of a job for life are, for much of the workforce anyway, a dim and distant memory.

With people’s attitudes towards work changing immeasurably in the past 20 or so years, staying in the same job for an extended period of time is now more commonly seen as an exception rather than the rule. Just ask any Premier League football manager…

A major factor in this change has been the workforce feeling the effects of the millennial generation joining the world of work.

Unlike their predecessors, they’re more than happy to jump from job-to-job; with over 40% of them planning to leave their current job within two years, and a paltry 28% of them planning on staying with the same employer for more than 5 years.

And don’t think that the fear of unemployment holds them back, either. Millennials have shown to be supremely confident in their job-hunting abilities and are more likely to risk being out of work rather than stick out an unrewarding role.

Don’t believe us? Take a moment away from this blog and ask the people around you if they’re planning on being in their role in two years’ time – we’d bet you’d start to see a pattern emerging…

This willingness to job-hop means that staff retention should be a top priority for businesses both large and small. After all, hiring or replacing staff is not a cheap process; with the average cost of staff turnover having been calculated to be as much as £30,000. This is a financial hit for any business but can be more keenly felt in small business and SMEs.


OK, so there are always going to be jobs that are highly pressurised, target-driven or make a number of demands on the employee’s time which might not suit them – that’s normal. But, if you’re seeing a constant revolving door of employees or consistently conducting exit interviews at your business, there may be more to it than you realise.

An unrewarding role isn’t just down to the job itself or what employees are tasked to do – besides, if they’ve applied for a job knowing what it entails, the location and what it pays, you’d think they’d be happy in the work, right?

Well, there’s several influencing factors in why employees choose to leave their roles or why your staff retention may be faltering…


An organisation’s managers need to be at the forefront of engaging employees.

Teams work at their best when they work in unison, with clear objectives and a shared goal; but if the manager or leader at the head of that team isn’t on the same page, then an employee’s satisfaction in their role can quickly evaporate.

If a team or department is consistently under-performing, it may not always be down to an unmotivated or unproductive workforce. It might be the case that a poor manager is either unwilling or unresponsive to assisting employees who need guidance or encouragement.

They may be ill-equipped to deal with the rigours of management or perhaps they don’t know how to motivate a team effectively. At worst, they may well be shirking their responsibilities entirely and regularly shifting the blame onto others when things go wrong.

Regardless, there are plenty of warning signs to look out for if you have a bad manager, and they can be a hidden barrier to your staff retention rates and retaining your best staff.

Tackle Your Staff Retention Problems With Our Exit Interview Template!


Yup, boredom at work is a key reason why staff can lose engagement with their role and their employers – and we’re not just talking boredom from having little or nothing to do.

It comes down to the fact that everyone wants to enjoy their work – and why wouldn’t you? If you’re spending upwards of 8 hours a day doing a job, enjoying doing it will play a huge part in both quality and productivity.

If you’re starting to notice staff become disinterested or disengaged with their regular activities, consider offering a new challenge to them; be it the chance to work with another team or a personal project they can take ownership of.

No one likes to feel like just another cog in a machine, so offering the opportunity to step up might be just what they need. And speaking of which…


Not getting the chance to learn new skills or enhance wider career prospects can be a barrier to staff retention - especially for those who are ambitious and career-focused.

If employees can see no chance of taking their next step up the career ladder or improving their own skillsets, they may decide to look for somewhere that can.

Try to ensure that on-the-job training is available to staff who desire to learn more and don’t be afraid to let staff take time out to attend industry seminars or workshops – they might just learn that extra bit of knowledge that can help them flourish in their roles and take on new responsibilities.


An employee’s passion for their job can quickly fade if their efforts are being ignored. In fact, research has shown that up to 66% of employees would leave their job if they felt unappreciated or felt their efforts were not being recognised. And as for those millennials we mentioned earlier? That figure increased to around 76%.

When we talk about employee recognition, it isn’t about handing out money, bonuses or trinkets for rewards’ sake.

Organisations need to have a more strategic approach that matches their vision and values and culture. Basically, it can be little things; like saying ‘thank you’ for staying late or helping out colleagues, to recognising loyalty to the business, their birthdays or personal achievements – we could really go on!

When employees feel recognised, they feel more engaged with their employers – it’s really that simple. If you don’t have a workplace culture that recognises the every-day amazing, you may find staff taking their talents elsewhere.


Following on from recognition, a company’s culture is a huge factor for both employee retention and reputation. The culture of a business will play a key part in how employees work and behave; so, clearly defining this and employing people whose personalities are on the same wavelength will encourage both longevity and loyalty.

Your culture will also help with how workers will interact together – if they’re all on board with your own vision, values and culture, the more likely they’ll perform better together and develop great working relationships, too.

You can also enhance this by organising regular team building activities or events outside of work – it gives the chance for employees to get to know each other better and, on a more basic level, have some fun, too!


Nothing in the world of work is set in stone and with 2019 presenting some unique challenges to businesses both large and small, job security is likely to play its part in defining whether people stick it out with their employers or look for greener career grass.

This is where communication is key to helping retain staff and keep them fully engaged, too. Regularly let them know how the business is doing and what the organisation’s plans are for either staying on track or recovering for the future.

If there’s news of financial instability swirling around, department restructures, salary freezes or general uncertainty, you can help build trust by communicating with your staff and being clear and honest in what is going on. If they’re engaged with your business and respect your judgement, direction, and decision-making, they’ll be more inclined to stay and focus their efforts on helping navigate through the tough times.


When it comes down to it, everyone wants to have the little extra dosh in their bank accounts each month; so, it’s only natural that if an employee has the chance to earn more doing something they enjoy, they’ll move on.

But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story…

Whilst you may not be in the position to simply offer more money each month or give regular bonuses, improving the quality of employee’s lives through non-cash rewards and incentives – such as gift vouchers, pre-paid cards or in-work benefits - can make a crucial difference to staff retention.

Not only are they a great way to incentivise performance or behaviours, they’ll help staff’s wages stretch further for longer and give them the chance to treat themselves to things they really want. And if they can do all this without having to hop between jobs, they’ll more likely to stick you for longer.


Rewarding an employee doesn't require a grand gesture or bigger salary - in fact, there are a number of simple things you can do to reward best behaviours and create a positive workplace culture. Download our free checklist via the link below to find out if any of your employees deserve a reward!

Download your free Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet