Top five reasons why employees leave their jobs

Thursday 10 March 2011

Kelly Services offers advice on how to avoid unnecessary staff turnover

More than 60 per cent of individuals in today’s workforce say they will change their career and re-invent themselves at least once during their working life, so employers need to stay ahead of the game by creating a work environment that fosters opportunity and encourages employees to want to stay long-term while at the same time realising their desire for change.

The finding is part of the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained the views of approximately 134,000 people in 29 countries, including more than 20,000 in Australia.

Penny O’Reilly, General Manager, Kelly Services Australia, said, “While every business wants to stay fresh and ensure they are recruiting the best talent available, going through the recruitment process simply because your employees will not stick with you is something no business can afford.

“People are already a business’s largest expense.  Replacing an employee costs an employer up to three times that person's annual wage, so constant employee turnover can quickly spiral out of control - not to mention the interruption that turnover causes to productivity,” Ms O’Reilly said.

“We interact with candidates on a daily basis and the shift we have seen over recent years in regard to employee attitudes towards career progression have been significant. During the downturn people were only interested in having a job, today we are seeing a return to the post downturn trend where candidates wanted to better understand the progression opportunities that exist within an organisation before they consider joining.”

“Employees are once again demanding consideration, coaching, understanding and clear advancement opportunities. If these demands are not met, employees are showing a willingness to terminate the relationship.”

The question for employers is how to balance these expectations with the needs of the business.

Below are the top five reasons why employees leave their jobs and suggestions on how your business can take action to minimise the loss of quality talent:

  1. Negative relationship with direct manager. When an employee feels unrecognised and unappreciated by the person they report to it is unlikely they will be motivated to perform at a high standard or feel compelled to stay. Ensuring all managers within your organisation understand the impact their management style has on retention is vital. Training managers in the softer skills (personal communication) required to engage a team can make a significant difference.
  2. There is little hope for career advancement or growth. Employees often feel that many jobs offer little or no opportunity to advance. Employers should work with employees to understand each individual's career expectations and where possible design a clear, step by step development path to achieve these goals. It’s important employers don’t over promise in this area, because not delivering an agreed promise can quickly lead to an employee becoming disengaged.
  3. The reality of a role does not match what was promised during the recruitment process.  If an employee believes they received an unrealistic or incorrect job description when they applied for their position, they quickly develop a general lack of trust in their employer. Employers must ensure they provide a detailed and accurate description of the job throughout the entire recruitment process, from ad placement to interviewing and at all touch points in between. Engaging a recruitment expert to advise you on how to best communicate the benefits and pitfalls of a role can help avoid this.
  4. Employees are overworked and stressed out. Many employees perceive an overwhelming lack of respect for themselves and their work/life balance. It is ironic that this perception is one of the primary reasons for leaving employers when so many are publicising the fact that work/life considerations are a priority. Employees have decided that, in many cases, this is more rhetoric than fact. Employers need to lead by example, showing that they have a balanced life and encouraging staff to do the same. Ultimately a balanced life will lead to a healthier and more productive workforce.
  5. Employees perceive a lack of coaching and/or mentoring from their employers. Heavy workloads and a focus on short-term success can result in employers not making sufficient time for meaningful and constructive individual engagement  with their employees. When this one-on-one interaction is not provided employees can quickly lose direction and feel unappreciated. Employers need to ensure they regularly acknowledge both negative and positive performance. Setting aside regular times to engage with employees is vital as is ensuring quality employees have the ability to engage with other people across the business in a bid to drive knowledge sharing and development.

Media contact
For an interview with Penny O’Reilly please contact:
Michelle Taylor
Recognition PR
02 9252 2266
mct@recognition.com.au

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