Top 4 Reasons for High Employee Turnover (& How to Protect Your Business)

Losing good workers in droves is every business leader’s worst nightmare. This is because the exit of top performers is hard both on the team’s morale and on the productivity of the organisation. And yet, lately, in what has been recently termed the great resignation, a record number of employees are quitting or thinking about doing so.

In light of this, it is prudent for leaders to take the time to learn why and act thoughtfully to tame the tide of employee turnover in their organisations. 

In this article, we present the top four reasons for high employee turnover: 

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4 Reasons for High Employee Turnover

Reason #1: They are drawn away by the siren call of a better package

In the end, the employment relationship is essentially a matter of giving and taking: employees give their time, skills, and their energy to grow the businesses of their employers, and in return, they take benefits—both monetary and non-monetary. So, at the heart of the matter, the loyalty of most employees is mostly to the highest bidder.

The fact is that no matter how much an employee likes to work for you or how much they believe in your business, if another employer presents them with a better package, they are most likely to accept it and leave your organisation. 

One of the ways to block this gap is to keep tabs on what compensation is being offered by your competition and be sure to offer a better or at least a comparable benefits package. This is the core reason for conducting annual wage and salary surveys: to gain insight into your employees’ outlook on their pay. 

It is also essential to understand that some employees aren’t necessarily motivated only by the pay. For instance, most top performers with families place a high price on remote work privileges, flexible schedules, daycare, discounts on travel services, and employee assistance programs.

Therefore, conducting employee satisfaction surveys will go a long way in giving you an accurate view of why your talent stay and why they leave. 

In any case, one way you can help your employees fully appreciate how much you’re offering them, is to provide each employee with an annual statement of total compensation that shows all of their wages plus any other benefit you provide translated into a monetary value.  

Reason #2: They are disengaged 

One of the first signs that an employee is disengaging is a decline in productivity and engagement. When an employee stops sharing their ideas, suggestions, and observations, it’s very likely that they no longer have the will to give any more than the basics required of them.

The fact is that engaged employees share several common traits, and some of them are: 

  • They relish resolving and finding solutions to problems 
  • They proactively share their ideas and solutions with colleagues 
  • They deliberately seek out challenging work that expands their capabilities 
  • They are generous with their time and are always willing to offer support to colleagues who are bogged down with work 
  • They seek out training and development opportunities 

Thus, from our experience, one of the fastest ways to completely lose a disengaging employee is to ignore the absence of any one of the signs above and make no effort whatsoever to find out what’s going on with your people.

On the other hand, if you take the time to sit down with them and ask their opinion on the job, how they feel when working, and what could be improved, you could light the spark in them again and get them to stay. 

Since engagement is such an essential factor for retaining employees, you need to find ways to promote it within your organisation. There are many ways to boost engagement among your employees. 

Here are a few ideas to boost employees engagement that you may wish to try:

  • Invest in team-building activities that keep your employees excited about what they’re doing.  
  • Allow your employees to contribute in significant ways whenever possible. And when they do great work, be sure to draw attention to how it impacts the company. 
  • Employees are people. People have emotions; they have families; they have hopes and dreams. Get to know your people. Invest in emotional bonds. Communicate with them about the things that matter to them. However, do it all in the most professional and non-intrusive manner. 
  • As a leader, dare to be vulnerable. Share your mistakes with your people so that everyone can learn from them. Be human. Humanity always wins over intellectualism. 
  • Get down in the trenches and work side-by-side with your employees from time to time. You can learn a lot about what is happening in your company just by staying involved. 

Reason #3: They’re poorly managed and underappreciated 

The common saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses is often more correct than incorrect. Bad bosses destroy morale like water melts the snow. You may have highly committed staff, but they may consider leaving if their immediate supervisor creates an uncomfortable work environment. 

We have frequently seen great employees on average salaries stay on highly stressful jobs solely because they share a deep connection and healthy bond with their direct managers. Unfortunately, we have seen the reverse happening too.  

The reality is that as human beings, we crave healthy relationships, and so without that relationship element, employees might have a wandering eye.

One way to ensure that work relationships within your organisation remain healthy is to imbibe it as organisational culture. Aspire to build a work environment that is hostile to toxicity and friendly to professionalism and collegiality.

Facilitate this by mirroring it from the top and putting reward systems in place for quality leadership. Be sure also to train new managers and never overlook bad managers. In addition, demonstrate fairness by having all your managers go through the same performance evaluation process as your other employees.  

Lastly, make sure that your company keeps an open-door policy at all times. Your people must be free to communicate feedback about their managers without the fear of retribution. 

Reason #4: They find no meaning in their job 

 A strong reason why many top employees leave their job is that they no longer find their work meaningful. 

 A 2017 study from Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute and IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute concluded that meaningful work — defined as a circumstance in which employees understand the value of the work they do and the organisation’s shared mission — was the single most significant contributor to a positive employee experience.  

What does this mean for your organisation? It means that you have to make an effort to show your team the bigger picture and explain how they contribute to it and the company’s goals. 

It’s risky to have highly beneficial employees who do not find satisfaction in their work. To prevent this feeling, try to conduct one-on-ones with your employees. Talk to them about their role in the company. Take the time to describe how their work affects the company as a whole and how much you appreciate their contribution. This might help to make them feel valued

And if you belong to the school of thought that believes that your employees should be grateful for their jobs, and you see no reason why you should help them find meaning in their work, don’t be surprised if they quit soon. 

In Summary

The truth is, you are putting your business at risk when you neglect to understand the reasons for high employee turnover and what they are gravitating towards.

Taking the time to conduct exit interviews and employee satisfaction surveys will teach you a lot about your organisation’s employee value proposition. And if you correctly use the information you get from these surveys to make changes in your organisation, you will be better able to protect your business from the dreadful fate of high employee turnover. 

If you’d like further clarification or require the help of our senior and experienced consultants to work with you in this regard, please reach out to us at We’d be happy to support your organisation with its talent management.

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