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Published:Oct 06, 2017

Why People Leave: An Infographic About What Makes Employees Quit

Great software is built by great teams.

One of the largest shifts in mindset over the past several years with regard to software engineering is that it is best when it’s viewed as a team sport. No single, standout engineer can make up for a well-functioning team that’s in sync and works well together.

A huge part of effective teambuilding is retaining as much talent as you can–keeping teams together, as it were.

In order to get a better understanding of how to retain talent, we looked at why people choose to leave, giving us insight about how to reverse engineer the process.

I dug deep into research on employee satisfaction, retention, and compensation to find some insights on when and why employees leave their jobs–and what companies can do to keep them around.

The data show that there are 5 top reasons cited when an employee leaves:

  1. Career opportunity (or lack of)
  2. Compensation
  3. People/management
  4. Growth/development
  5. Recognition

Each of these pillars is an important part of the equation, but each individual employee will have their own set of values that drive their decision about when to stay or leave.

We put the findings into this infographic:

 

 

Career opportunity

One really damning reason people leave a job is because they feel like their long-term career opportunity is limited or nonexistent in that role. We can see in the data that many people are staying in a position longer (i.e., not advancing) and that some semblance of title progression, in and of itself, can help boost employee satisfaction by almost 20%.

Compensation

Every person has a different standard for what is “good” compensation. But, the findings are clear. If you’re underpaying talent, they will likely leave.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you need to pay everyone a million dollars to keep them around. Studies have found that engagement and satisfaction plateaus at a certain acceptable salary, where people feel comfortable and valued.

This specific number will vary, but it’s likely correlated with average wages for that position and that location.

In short, salary alone is rarely the main driver for someone’s decision to leave or accept a new position. But, it becomes increasingly important if people aren’t being paid fairly.

People/management

There’s a common adage that says, “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”

This is often true. Many people cite that the work culture or management is a main cause for them choosing to leave a job. Much of this stems from the simple fact that most companies do a very poor job of hiring or promoting people into leadership positions.

Managing people takes a very specific skill set, and poor or inexperienced managers can drive away great talent in a hurry.

Growth/development

It should be no secret that any engaged, productive employee is likely interested in doing more than just earning a living. They want to grow and develop their skills and experience. They want to be challenged and given the opportunity to advance.

So, if the nature of the job is mundane and repetitive, with little change for personal growth or development, then you can expect people to be on the way out.

Recognition

Sometimes, all people want is someone to acknowledge their work. Sadly, too many workplaces do not do a good job of providing recognition for employees.

Small gestures, like public acknowledgement or a simple thank-you note, can boost employee morale and keep people engaged rather than feeling unimportant or disposable.

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