Minimize Employee Turnover by Understanding Why People Quit

A high turnover rate is toxic to your business’s success and longevity. Not only is it frustrating to have to continually replace employees, it can be quite costly.

In fact, a study from The Center for American Progress found that, “The cost of losing an employee can range anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position.”

If a person earns $40k annually, this translates into a loss of $6,400. In order to minimize employee turnover, it’s necessary to understand what makes people quit.


Poor Relationships With Managers

The vast majority of people quit because of their manager. It’s not that they necessarily hate their job, it’s that there’s friction with their boss. Information from The Wall Street Journal reports that, “About half of employees had left a job at some point ‘to get away from their manager.'”

It should be a top priority to educate your managers on how to build strong relationships with employees. They should develop excellent communication skills, be able to deliver consistent feedback and treat employees with respect. If you can overcome this obstacle, you’ve literally won half the battle.



High employee expectations and an overarching vision for your company is great. However, when you or your management team “hover” causing your employees to walk on egg shells, it can be incredibly draining. In fact, dealing with chronic micromanagement is another main reason why employees decide to leave.

An article on Forbes suggests, “Employees whose ‘hands are regularly tied’ are 28% more likely to think about greener pastures elsewhere.” This can be particularly frustrating for younger millennial workers who don’t typically like relinquishing full control to a superior.

The key is to find the right balance between delegating tasks and allowing employees to utilize their own creativity and talent. Be sure that you’re giving employees a sense of autonomy in their jobs and they’re more likely to stay.


Lack of Development Opportunities

Most people have a desire for at least some level of personal growth and progress. When there’s stagnation, engagement and overall job satisfaction tend to decline. If your employees feel like hamsters going around in a wheel but not getting anywhere, this can lead to disillusionment.

Consider the following:

  • Promote from within
  • Continually challenge your employees to trigger growth
  • Give employees a chance to showcase their skills and talents
  • Develop existing skills
  • Offer career advancement opportunities
  • Offer periodic raises


A Lousy Culture

There’s also the issue of culture. According to the same article on Forbes, “Employees who give their work culture low marks are nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts.” If your culture stinks, don’t expect many workers to stick around for the long haul.

Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your culture. Some examples include:

  • Hold team chemistry-building events (e.g. company outings, recreational activities, etc.)
  • Reward consistent production
  • Be sensitive to the needs of employees and accommodate them whenever possible
  • Offer flexible scheduling

If your turnover rate is too high, it’s something you should address right away. Understanding the most common reasons people quit puts you in a better position to minimize employee turnover and build a strong foundation of loyal workers.




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