The Great Retention

How to Retain Your Employees: 9 Reasons They Quit + A Strategy to Keep Your Top Talent

Chances are you’ve heard the old saying, “People don’t leave companies…They leave managers.” 

Perhaps you’ve even experienced high turnover in your own business, or worry your top talent is secretly planning to quit and go work for the competition.

After all, that’s what millions of people have been doing for the past two years, right? You know, the great resignation everybody’s talking about.

But what if you could put your mind at ease and reverse the number of resignations that may be happening in your own business? What if you could become part of the great retention, instead?

First, you need to understand the reasons why employees quit. Next, you need to do some soul searching and figure out how to retain your employees. Then, create a strategy that keeps your top talent.


9 Reasons Employees Quit

1. You’re not flexible

It’s no secret that the global pandemic has changed life as we know it. 

Two years ago when workers were sent home, little did we know that it would fuel a change that many businesses are still struggling with. 

Sheltered in their homes, working from kitchen tables, workers were able to be more productive, spend more time with their families. And finally realized, they wanted more flexibility in their jobs with regard to working arrangements.

This attitude change created a rallying cry for a better work-life balance. 

If you’re resistant to remote or hybrid schedules because you believe workers are not as productive outside the office, statistics have proven the opposite. Without unnecessary interruptions, ie. water cooler talk or never ending Zoom calls, workers are able to get more done in less time working from home.

2. The grass looks greener on the other side

According to a survey by PwC, “1 in 5 respondents say they plan to switch jobs within the next 12 months.” 

Want to know why this number is so high?

Employees who see fellow coworkers leaving for better jobs while they’re stuck can lead to resentment, frustration, and the belief that their life would be better with a new employer.

If an employee is thinking about quitting, whether or not they actually do so, is a problem. 

This unchecked desire can lead to what is now being called the “Quiet Quit.” Workers continue to clock in but they do just enough to skate by. Quality of work suffers. So does your business.


3. Ignored, invisible, and unheard

Your workers are struggling to get your attention.

They feel ignored and invisible. They crave your feedback. They understand this isn’t always in the form of praise, but can come as constructive criticism. 

On the flip side, asking employees for feedback and then failing to follow through can lead to resentment and negative beliefs. Such as feeling their opinions and input aren’t valued and don’t really matter.

It’s important to note that half of workers say their feedback on surveys don’t lead to any significant change.


(For help with employee engagement that works and won’t lead to resentment schedule a quick chat with Clarity Wave today)


4. Overwhelmed and burnt out

If you want to increase employee retention then you need to take a hard look at just why they are overwhelmed.

It’s no secret that workers are burnt out. The world is a scary place right now. War, drought, floods, inflation, and the threat of recession are enough to make anyone frazzled. 

Throw in crazy and unhealthy work demands on top of that and anyone can feel as if they have too much on their plate.


5. Toxic culture

News flash: No one likes working for a bully. 

If you’re a bully or you support a toxic work environment, your employees are going to quit.

Just to be clear, a toxic work environment doesn’t necessarily mean bullying. It could be a co worker who runs roughshod or refuses to carry their weight. A lack of diversity and non inclusive atmosphere can also appear as toxic.

A good boss, one who is attuned and engaged with employees, recognizes toxic behavior and seeks to stamp it out.

Transparency is also key. If employees feel they’re being kept out of the loop on important matters, they will resent you.


6. Employee salary and benefits packages aren’t competitive

According to a Glassdoor survey, “Workers earn 5.2% more when they change jobs.”

Guess what…if your employee salary and benefits package isn’t competitive then your workers will leave.

This sets up another problem. Increased turnover. Which, in turn, is expensive.

According to SHRM, “the average cost of a resigned employee is about one-third of their annual earnings.” This doesn’t take into account the cost of recruiting, hiring, and time spent onboarding.

Not to mention the cost of knowledge and skills they’re leaving with and taking to a competitor.


7. Lack of professional development

Workers want to advance in their career and this often means learning new skills. But if they sense there is no room for growth, then they’ll seek it out elsewhere.

When employees become stagnant in their current roles, no one benefits. By incorporating professional development and training, employees are allowed to take on new challenges. They’ll move out of their comfort zones and become stronger, more loyal employees.


8. Lack of purpose

“What do you do for a living?” 

How many times have you been asked that? It’s perhaps one of the top conversation starters at networking events, first dates, and holiday get togethers. And readily so. Because so much of our identity is tied to our job or career.

When employees feel there is no purpose to their career or that they’re stuck in a dead end job, it can fuel depression, frustration, and misery.

Which can lead them to ask, “Why am I working here for a living?”


9. Bored, bored, bored

In the same vein as lack of purpose, boredom can wither motivation, driving employees to seek work elsewhere.

Workers want to be challenged without being overwhelmed. Growth occurs when we’re nudged out of our comfort zones. 

Good managers know what these comfort zones are as well as how to motivate without pushing too hard or too fast. They help workers learn from their mistakes, and that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

This type of attitude demonstrates to employees that you have their backs.

Now that you know the top reasons why workers quit their jobs, it’s important to create a strategy that not only retains them but keeps them happy.


How to Retain Your Top Talent: A 7-Step Strategy

1. Start with recruiting

When it comes to recruiting you need to ask some important questions beyond what skills they bring to the table. Such as:

  • Will this individual stay the course? 
  • How long did they last in their previous job?
  • Do they have a history of hopping every 1 to 2 years?
  • Do their values and vision align with yours?

Knowing this before they’re hired can go a long way to ensuring they stay for the duration.


2. Check your Onboarding 

Orientation is crucial to ensuring new hires are brought up to speed. It instills confidence in them and helps to allay any anxiety they have about starting a new role.

A good orientation also introduces them to their team and anyone who will play a part in their success. Such as a mentor.

Good mentors are knowledgeable and encouraging. It’s important to note, that mentors aren’t just great for new hires but for long term employees as well.

They can serve as a coach or a sounding board, especially for older employees who might be taking on more responsibility or transitioning into a new role within the company. Mentors can also help with feelings of burnout and stagnation.


3. Give them a road map to advancement

No one wants to work in a dead end job. They want to move up, make more money, and feel as if they’re a valuable member of the team.

Making continuing education and professional development a priority will be seen as a win win for those employees who want to learn a new skill.

If you’re unsure what to offer, ask your employees what they want to learn. Pay attention to workers who might be struggling and determine whether learning a new skill could help them.

Also, promote the right employees. Nothing breeds resentment more than feeling as if the wrong people are constantly promoted while the ones who are qualified are left to languish.


4. Open your door

Institute an open door policy.

Managers need to engage with every team member regularly to see how they’re doing. Ask if they need help. And genuinely listen.

See and hear your people. They want more than just a paycheck. They want to feel as if they matter and are an asset to your company, rather than a liability.

If workers reach out and receive no response, you can trust they’ll reach out to new employers who will listen.


5. Take a look at your salary and benefits package

It’s important for a company to stay competitive in order to get and keep top talent. 

Just know that this doesn’t always mean more money. Sometimes a company can’t give raises but if C-Suite executives are getting annual increases and bonuses then you should be able to pass those on to lower level employees. Otherwise, you risk alienation and resentment.

Some ways to increase perks without bumps in salary are:

  • Offer remote or flexible schedules
  • Celebrate employee milestones, birthdays, work anniversaries
  • Consider health and wellness reimbursements (healthy workers = less sick days)
  • Increase 401k contribution
  • Increase personal time off
  • Implement half day Fridays (many companies do this during summer)

6. Invest in team building

Team building can come in many forms and doesn’t always take place on the clock or during the workday.

This can include playing games, cookouts, scavenger hunts, or even volunteering for a cause.

It’s important to include remote workers in this as well. As working from home can lead to isolation and disconnection.


7. Invest in manager development training

Realize that managers are not born but made, and not everyone is cut out for this position.

It takes a special person to lead. One who’s fallible, empathetic, and owns up to their shortcomings and mistakes.

Striving to become a better boss is a worthy pursuit and not one to take lightly.

Some areas that can help you in this are:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Stress and crisis management
  • Developing active listening skills

Good managers are willing to ask those they lead, “How am I doing? What can I be doing better?” And then strive to put those answers into action.


In conclusion, understanding why employees leave is crucial if you want to keep your top talent from quitting.

The last thing you want is for someone to say they quit because of you. 

Instead, you want to be your workers’ champion. The person they seek out for help and advice rather than the one they avoid. This is truly the ultimate step in how you retain your employees.



Gain insight into what your employees are thinking, feeling, and struggling with. Then craft a plan where you all succeed. Schedule a quick and informative chat with ClarityWave today