The #1 reason employees leave their job

Employee turnover is expensive, timely and can impact performance and productivity. If your company continues to have bad retention rates then it will deter potential new staff, as they will assume you have a negative working environment.

The number one reason employees leave their job is because of concern about lack of opportunities for advancement. According to a Linkedin survey, 45% of people cited this as being the main reason they quit. So what does this actually mean and what can you do to prevent it from happening to your employees?


  • Their personal goals are not listened to – You set your staff goals and targets which concern the company e.g. sales targets, customer interaction, checklists etc. but you never take the time to listen to the goals of the individual themselves. They know how to make you happy and fulfilled but you are not asking how you can make them happy and fulfilled.

Sit down with your employees and find out what their goals are, match these with your business needs to ensure maximum benefit from both sides. Look at the employee’s career background in terms of what they have achieved so far. Next, look at your business and think where you are going, how is your industry changing and what you can do to excel and be adaptive. Now try and match the two, think about how the employee’s skills and interests link to where the company is going and how you can utilise those for the best impact (Julie Winkle Giulioni).


  • They are not shown how they can progress – Progression is fundamental to human nature, yet not enough is being done to show employees that their role is not stagnant. Advancements in careers, no matter what size, make a HUGE difference to employee motivation as it shows them that they are valued for their work.

Keep a record of each employee’s skills, training and achievements. When you sit down with them, show them their record so they can assess how they can achieve more and see how they can develop and progress. Once they get to a milestone and achieve a certain amount then you must reward them, this can be with a promotion, pay rise, more opportunities or new challenges at work, etc. Anything which proves to them that hard work is rewarded and continuing progression is an essential part of their role.


  • Take them more seriously – Turnover is high in lower paid jobs such as retail or hospitality and one of the reasons for this is that a lot of the workers are younger. They are working simply to make money and do not see a future with the business. It is your responsibility to change this thought process and show them why they should consider your company as a serious career option.

Use the onboarding process as an opportunity to show them how they can learn and progress. This will motivate them from the offset, ensure you provide in-depth quality training during this process, as a major fault in retail is onboarding staff with little or no training, which makes them lose focus. Have regular catch ups with them to find out what they are enjoying and what they are struggling with, put a plan together so you can address these issues and help them excel in other areas.


  • They are not learning – It has been reported that employees who learn whilst they work are more likely to love their job. However, according to a study on Leadership IQ, only 42% of workers say that they are frequently learning on the job.

When you have your catchups with employees, ask them what they would like to achieve for the month ahead. This demonstrates to them that you would like them to grow and learn, it also makes them see that there are opportunities to learn. Ask staff members what they are better at now than they were last month, which will make them take note of their progression and how far they have come and will motivate them to keep learning.

Gamification is a great way to ensure employees are constantly learning, Virgin Media has an e-learning gaming app which helps staff learn about everything company related every single day. They found that 65% of employees play in their own time and 97.5% like or love playing the game.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 12th April 2018