If your company is looking for some guidance on how to keep employees from jumping ship, according to Gallup research, most employees quit for a few explainable reasons. But the reasons your best people leave might not be what most bosses think. Many think it's about the all-mighty dollar.

Salary is important, sure, but Gallup says it doesn't buy employee loyalty. In their studies, only 22 percent of respondents in their study mentioned it as the reason for their exit. Lets break down by percentage all the top reasons employees move on to other opportunities .

Why Your People May Be Quitting

  1. Career advancement or promotional opportunities: 32%
  2. Pay/benefits: 22%
  3. Lack of fit to job: 20.2%
  4. Management or the general work environment: 17%
  5. Flexibility/scheduling: 8%
  6. Job security: 2%

Now look at these reasons closely. Notice a pattern? According to James K. Harter, Ph.D., Gallup's chief scientist for workplace management, at least 75 percent of the reasons for costly voluntary turnover come down to things that managers can influence. And managers who can't or won't do anything about the factors that drive turnover can expect to be filling job requisitions in the near future. 

If you're in a management role, there are things you can do to counter all the reasons why your own employees may be quitting you. 

1. "Career advancement/promotional opportunities." 

One of the best predictors of turnover is whether an employee has had opportunities at work to learn, grown, and advance. The research found that employees who strongly agree with the following four items in Gallup's signature Q12 engagement survey were twice as likely to say they have opportunities to move up.

  • "There is someone at work who encourages my development."
  • "In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress."
  • "My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person."
  • "At work, my opinions seem to count."

Additionally, it was found that 92 percent of these workers also said they planned to be with their companies a year later.

2. "Pay/benefits." 

The strategy for dealing with pay and benefits as the likely sources for your employee turnover is not to throw more money or perks at them. Instead, the answer to this problem lies in the question Gallup has studied for decades: How engaged are your employees?

According to Gallup, "engaged employees are far more likely to perceive that they are paid appropriately for the work they do (43%), compared to employees who are disengaged (15%) or actively disengaged (13%).

Another reality check is to find out how coworkers feel toward each others' work. Pay and benefits become a huge deal if employees feel that their coworkers aren't committed to quality. The key thing for managers is to watch for employees who perceive that their coworkers are not committed to a high standard of work

Harter asserts in the Gallup study that such employees "may feel entitled to extra compensation to make up the difference or to make them feel like they are truly valued by their employer."

3. "Lack of fit to job."

Harter describes the most effective managers as those who help their people build jobs that fit them as an individual person, with the company's goals in mind.

Harter says managers win big by doing the opposite of most managers: Putting people into roles that fully leverage their talents and strengths, where they're emotionally connected to their work. When companies select people who psychologically fit their jobs, they'll be efficient, effective, and fulfilled.

4. "Management or the general work environment." 

Harter tells Mark C. Crowley in Fast Company that fixing turnover due to management or the work environment starts with managers setting clear goals and expectations:

"Unfortunately, a lot of organizations forget about that, or mess it up by not communicating effectively when changes happen--or the local manager is unsuccessful in translating to the front line people what the organization is trying to get done. It comes down to showing people how their work and contributions impact the success of the entire firm. Disengagement starts with having a confusing job."

5. "Flexibility/scheduling."

Most employees juggle their jobs with busy personal lives. Therefore, people are increasingly looking to work remotely and adjust their hours and schedules as needed (without compromising either their personal wellbeing or work productivity).

Gallup reports that 53% of employees say greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is "very important" to them. Even more so for female employees.

They also found that 51% of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time.

Bosses need to demonstrate how they help employees balance work and life in a way that empowers employees and makes business sense.

6. "Job security." 

To address this issue as a potential catalyst for employees moving on, they need to feel the company they work for is on solid footing and are poised for growth. The more stability they see in their employer, the more likely they may see their future with it.

One way companies can demonstrate stability is to share history of steady growth with specific examples of how they have survived tough economic times, or openly communicate their vision for future growth to all employees.

Employees (and job candidates in the interview process) want to hear a story that resonates deep within them -- they need to believe in the future of the organization and be able to see themselves participating in it. Therefore, managers at all levels are critical in creating a genuine and compelling vision that plays at the heartstrings of their employees..

Published on: Oct 23, 2017
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