Leadership

The Real Reasons Employees Quit

A new survey reveals that managers are often out of the loop when it comes to understanding staff turnover

Written by Melissa Campeau

Think you know why past employees jumped ship? You may be way off base, according to a recent survey by David Aplin Group recruiters. The firm asked upwards of 1,800 people why they’d voluntarily left a former job, then asked managers and HR professionals for their take on the main causes of staff turnover. The two groups’ answers diverged sharply.

The workers who were surveyed about the jobs they’d left reported five top reasons. The first was insufficient pay or unfair pay practices, followed by a lack of honesty, integrity and ethics within the company. Next came a lack of trust in senior leaders, followed by a lack of work-life balance. And lastly, the group named an unhealthy or undesirable corporate culture as the fifth biggest reason for making the leap to another employer.

Read: To Find and to Keep: How to Find and Retain Good Employees

When the management and HR group were surveyed, they named insufficient pay or unfair pay practices as the top reason employees voluntarily leave jobs—identical to the first group’s response. But they listed unmet personal goals and dreams next, followed by excessive workloads, unexpected job or career opportunities and, finally, a lack of feedback or recognition.

Exactly half of employees said the thought of leaving their employer caused them to give less effort to their job. “The survey results back the fact that employee turnover affects your bottom line,” says Jeff Aplin, president of David Aplin Group. “What’s more is the cost of replacing an employee, estimated to be between 75% and 200% of the employee’s annual compensation.” Nearly half (49%) of managers and HR professionals indicate voluntary turnover is a problem for their organizations, so understanding the root causes is a fundamental step in finding a solution.

Read: Why Are Your Staff Leaving?

Though money concerns ranked at the top of workers’ reasons for leaving, financial gain didn’t necessarily outweigh other important issues. Six out of 10 (61%) said they would trade financial compensation for extra vacation days or a shorter workweek, and only 52% indicated a higher salary would increase their tolerance for the undesirable aspects of their job.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com