Why Are Employees Resigning? Top Reasons Employees Leave Their Jobs

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By Ryan Stenvick

Vice President of Business Development and Delivery, North America

The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we view work. Being isolated in our homes during lockdowns allowed us to reflect on what we wanted out of a career. Employees are now realigning or reconfiguring what their career path looks like and many are leveraging the current hiring crisis to find a more suitable position that pays more, better aligns with their values, and keeps them engaged. In the United States, the pandemic unleashed a historic burst of entrepreneurship raising the number of self-employed people by 500,000.

A Gallup analysis found that 48 percent of the U.S. working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities. The same analysis discovered that workers in all job categories—from customer-facing service roles to highly professional positions—are job hunting at roughly the same rate. Here are five of the main reasons employees leave their job.

No room for growth

According to research by Willis Towers Watson, more than 70 percent of employees—who are at high risk for turnover within their current organization—say they will have to leave to advance their careers.

A bad manager

A recent Predictive Index study found that 63 percent of employees with a bad manager are thinking of leaving their company in the next year. Managers have a major impact on employee job satisfaction. They are instrumental in priority setting, issue resolution, and promotion advocacy. In Gallup’s ongoing “State of the American Workplace” study, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton summarized why companies’ may be experiencing high employee turnover in this statement, “The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”

Inadequate compensation

Today’s tight labor market has given workers the upper hand for the first time in at least two decades and presents the perfect time for professionals to advance their careers and shop their worth. Combine that with an inflation rate at its highest level since 1982 and employers can expect greater demand from workers for a cost-of-living adjustment in 2022.

Lack of flexibility

Workers value employers that empower them to manage their own time and give them the flexibility to utilize their time most efficiently. Gallup’s State of the Workforce study revealed that 91 percent of workers in the U.S.—working at least some of their hours remotely—are hoping their ability to work from home continues after the pandemic. This is paired with the influx of employees and candidates that are solely looking or willing to leave their current employer for remote opportunities.

Absence of work-life balance

Garner found that among U.S. employees, work-life balance is valued more than health benefits. An unhealthy work-life balance can cause employee burnout, a deterioration in health, strain on relationships, and reduced work productivity. Employees suffering from burnout are nearly three times as likely to leave their current employer. Read more about why setting boundaries is important in the workplace.

Summary

Today’s labor market and economy are truly unique. The demand for labor during the pandemic recovery is fierce and quit rates are at record highs. Putting in the time and effort required to  understand what matters most to your employees is no longer a “nice to have.” Organizations that understand their employees’ values and needs will have a significant strategic advantage over their competitors. And those that don’t? Well, they may receive a resignation letter from a valued and highly skilled employee that they hoped to never lose.

Learn how large businesses are handling employee COVID-19 vaccinations.

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