When good employees leave a company, morale suffers, productivity dips, and remaining colleagues struggle with the increased workload until a replacement has been found. Along with this, additional training and recruitment costs are incurred, and the onboarding process of new hires can often result in a period of lower productivity for those employees who need to train the latest additions to the team. The repercussions of losing a key member of staff can have a ripple effect across multiple teams, so retaining top talent is as important, if not more important than attracting new talent to the company.

People don’t quit a job; the saying goes — they quit a boss. While this is often the case, here are some of the most common reasons employees choose to jump ship to new employers and what you can do to remedy this.


The Problem: Employees will often follow up with recruiters and other job offers if they’re bored, angry or dissatisfied in their current roles.Employers and management sometimes forget that employees have lives outside the walls of the workplace and fail to consider the benefits of a flexible schedule. A strict, five-day, forty-hour working week will often significantly limit the amount of time employees have to carry out activities that are not directly applicable to their roles, e.g. childcare, appointments or exercising at the gym. Tracking the time an employee spends in the office at their desk and correlating that to productivity and results for the company is an old school mentality that puts a strain on the relationships.

What You Can Do About It: Allowing employees the flexibility to increase working hours from Monday to Thursday to have a long weekend, arrive into the office before nine o’clock each day, or provide the option to work remotely when necessary can significantly help to address this problem. Another option is to hire an additional person to share the same role and limit the number of hours each person needs to be in the office.


The Problem: In any company, employees want to work with a boss who fully supports them and stands behind their work, no matter how difficult things may be at times. So, when managers refuse to accept responsibility when things go badly or criticise other members of staff in front of the rest of the team, the overall happiness, productivity and job satisfaction will typically start to plummet. In some organisations, gossip, unethical behaviour and retaliation are ripe among staff, which in turn results in employees not wanting to stick around to see if things will improve – they’re too busy keeping an eye out for new opportunities elsewhere.

What You Can Do About It: As a manager, it is your responsibility to set the example of how you want your team to behave. If you’re continually gossiping or complaining about other members of staff, passing blame and using a negative tone in most conversations – guess what? Your team are going to follow in your footsteps and hurt the morale of the team which may be enough to push your star employees to consider new opportunities at other companies. So, instead of encouraging that type of behaviour, you need to promote positivity no matter what pressure is being received from other areas of the organisation. A trustworthy, inspirational and dependable leader can keep employees informed about organisational issues, motivate them to grow professionally, show off their skills to the rest of the company. If a conflict arises (as it generally will), you should aim to fix it immediately instead of letting it go unnoticed as even small issues can become destructive and do irreparable damage to the team culture you’ve helped to nurture.


“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do;
we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
– Steve Jobs, Apple

The Problem: Are you emphasising training your best employees properly — especially during their first months within the company as part of an onboarding process? Do you provide constant feedback, set realistic expectations and ensure there’s constructive two-way feedback? More importantly, are you allowing people to input their best ideas and make decisions on their own without you overseeing each action at every step? If you’re failing on that last point, it’s likely you’re micromanaging your employees and not providing the level of freedom and trust that they need to grow within the organisation. If you are pumping fear into the room by checking every piece of work, dominating people and decisions, and hurting the creativity, innovation and morale of staff, this approach will result in performance being stifled in the long run and consequently lead to your team searching for new roles outside of the company.

What You Can Do About It: If you’re the kind of manager who zones in on details, prefers to be cc’d on all emails, and is rarely happy with your team’s work then there’s no nice way to say this – for the sake of your team, you need to stop this immediately. You are the problem.

A good manager trains and delegates appropriately, and you can’t do that correctly if you’re taking on everything regardless of how relevant the task is to yourself. You need to establish what work is critical to your role and your team through strategic planning and identify what items are less important and don’t require your time (e.g. proofreading copy). The “big ticket items” are where you can genuinely add value to the company so prioritise those, delegate the low-hanging fruit and focus on the bigger picture of where the company is trying to go.


The Problem: Ineffective meetings are one of the most significant time sinks in any company. Many managers fail to adequately communicate individual, department and company goals on a daily basis, which in turn, makes it impossible for their employees to satisfy those expectations. They often assume that employees will merely fulfil what was outlined in their job descriptions from Day One without additional guidance and measurable goals to work towards. This, however, is a dangerous approach as employees don’t understand what’s expected of them and will have a difficult time completing the tasks required of their role within the company. And when this type of behaviour begins to creep into a company, employees start to search for positions at other companies where they feel their work will make a difference.

What You Can Do About It: You need to communicate your overall mission and goals to your employees from the start. There are some ways in which you can do this: regular meetings if they’re run effectively, follow a clear agenda and have a followup email that contains detailed minutes. It’s essential that feedback and questions are encouraged from attendees and that they’re followed up on as quickly as possible, rather than disregarded and ignored in favour of other tasks.

Outside of meetings, there must be critical lines of communication that help employees feel that you’re always available to provide constant feedback and checking in on areas of responsibility when they need additional support. It’s essential that each team member is aware of the progress they’ve made concerning the outlined goals, what still requires some form of support, and what their next steps should be. A company that encourages this type of continuous interaction is more likely to perform better, and it will help to remove confusion from employees about the importance they play on a daily basis.


“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training
them and having them stay.”
– Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company

The Problem: Opportunities to grow within a company are essential to every employee. Career stagnation can severely impact the morale of an employee as there is more to work than a monthly salary; people like to feel that they are being challenged, they are irreplaceable and can have an impact on the company as a whole. However, training costs time, materials and money, as well as missed time, unbillable hours and the fear of talented employees leaving, so businesses often don’t want to take that risk.

What You Can Do About It: Creating a career path for each employee that is defined, well communicated and understood by employees is often not something most companies do well. Some companies are better than most in which managers are holding regular performance review meetings with their employees, but employees often still don’t understand how they can move either vertically or horizontally within the organisation. Of course, there will be a glass ceiling of growth for some roles, but giving an employee the support and training they need to upskill within their current position and ensuring it’s made clear to them how and where they can move forward on their career path will help to remove some frustration.

Ultimately, being a great manager within your company will go some way towards making your employees happy, plus, it will help to make your job more comfortable in the long run. At the end of the day, you want your employees to look up to you, trust your judgement, respect you and want to work with you longterm; no matter what other internal pressures may be impacting their day-to-day working lives.