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It’s the nightmare we all dread happening for real. Your best employee – the one you simply can’t afford to do without – asking for a word in private before quietly saying that they’re leaving for pastures new. It may be that you can talk them out of it, but nine times out of ten if they’ve plucked up the courage to have ‘the conversation’ they are already mentally out of the door. Exit interviews are hugely important in helping you understand why they’ve decided to hand in their notice. But often employees aren’t truly honest here, not least because they’ll need you to give them a decent reference.

So we’ve pooled together our experiences and come up with our definitive list of the real reasons employees quit:

1. The Boss

The line manager is the single most important person in a direct report’s work life. If relations turn sour, a good employee is likely to feel their contribution is undermined – affecting their engagement, confidence and happiness. Keep your eyes open for signs of disengagement in your wider team and encourage a culture of open, honest and reciprocal feedback.

2. Loneliness

According to research by Gallup, 1 of the 12 key components of employee happiness is having a best friend at work. Encouraging friendships amongst coworkers definitely improves retention (as well as performance) levels. Team away days are a great help here.

3. Boredom

No-one wants to do be doing a job that’s too easy or boring. Particularly your most talented people. Ensure all your team are engaged, excited, and challenged with short and long term goals that stretch their creativity as well as their intellects.

4. Burn-Out

Of course it’s tempting to work your best people extra hard. But if you increase their workload without also giving them a promotion, enhanced job title or increased pay any high potential employee worth their salt would look for another job that gives them what they deserve.

5. Little Or No Recognition

Everyone needs a pat on the back once in a while. Getting to know what effectively motivates each member of your team (public recognition, money, training) will help you ensure you always get it right. And keep them bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

6. Watching The Wrong People Get Promoted

Seeing someone you don’t rate getting promoted over your head has got to be one of the most demotivating things ever. There’s no way you can’t take it personally. Think about the impact on the rest of the team before making/implementing promotion decisions.

The good news is many of the reasons above are pretty quick to fix. So make the changes now – before the nightmare happens for real….

For help on advice on staff retention or any other HR issue get in touch with theHRhub today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at to organise a no strings chat about your HR needs and how we can help.

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