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Why do Employees Leave Good Companies?

Exactly why do good companies lose their best employees?



In the words of Sir Richard Branson, ‘Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to!’


In our past articles, we’ve looked at the lengths companies go to in order to attract talent.  Companies are recognising the benefit of good staff and are offering things such as flexible working, individual packages and personal development in order to recruit.  But what happens after that and why are the best employees leaving for something new?


We look at the top 6 reasons for departure and what can be done to avoid the cycle. 


1 – Lack of Company Vision

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests a ‘sense of belonging’ comes directly after our basic needs of food, water and safety. This sense of belonging in the workplace translates quite simply to teamwork and working to a unified goal.  Employees want to feel passionate about the company they work for and, in order for this to happen, they need to have a clear vision that is communicated from the top down.  With a lack of company vision and goals, employees will lose drive and direction and ultimately look elsewhere to find it. 


  1. Inconsistent Performance Reviews

The annual performance review really should be a thing of the past.  Employees that are worth their salt want to know that they are valued; and not just once a year!  Good management communicate regularly with their teams and individuals, continually offering appreciation, guidance, advice and improvement tips.  The most frustrating thing in an annual review is inconsistency.  Employees get frustrated at working with their line manager every day for 12 months, only to be surprised at their annual review with feedback that has not been communicated previously. 


  1. Solely Negative Feedback

Positivity breeds productivity! 

It’s human nature to focus on the bad things.  We’re a nation that is ready to complain when we feel things aren’t right yet sit quietly when things are going well or even surpass our expectations.  Sadly, this can be true of the workplace too.


Good management teams provide constructive criticism to their employees that acts as a learning tool, providing opportunity and helping them with their personal development as opposed to negative feedback that leaves them with poor self-esteem, low morale, disengagement and reduced productivity. 


Of course, there will be times when negative feedback is required and it’s good management to reprimand unwanted behavior as soon as possible.  But negative feedback can’t be the only feedback people receive.  Petty and unimportant issues need to be resolved and put to bed.  Employees with line managers that focus on small insignificant errors are ones with frustrations and these small frustrations can build. 


Confidence is key to productivity and positive reinforcement will result in employees that are engaged and willing to work hard. 


As a general rule, negative feedback should be given immediately and in private, whereas positive feedback can be given at any time and is more than acceptable in public.



  1. Ignoring Talent and Desires

Many employees leave their place of work as they feel they have been pushed into a role that needs to be filled as opposed to working to their strengths.


Valuable employees will have passion, personal goals and a desire to work towards a certain position.  If they are pushed into a role that isn’t working to their strengths and desires they will, no doubt, look elsewhere. 


The key is to work to employee strengths and tailor their talent to the task; in short, setting them up for success.  Using your employees talents and strengths will make them feel valued and confident and will also benefit the business. 


Employees also need to feel that they are being challenged.  Personal development programmes should be on offer and once new skills are acquired, the employee should be able to utilise them.  

A strength-focused culture makes your employees more engaged and happy employees are more productive, innovative and of course, less likely to leave. 



  1. Work Infringes on Personal Time

With technology, communication and international business, employees can be answering calls and emails well into the evening and even at weekends.  Workers can feel that putting in 8 hours in the office isn’t enough and can feel pressured to check and answer emails in their personal time.  Flexible working is a key demand of the younger generation in the workplace, which could make this harder to manage.  However, developing and encouraging employees to relax and take ample time away from work will make them happier and more productive when work time comes round again.  


  1. The Lies!

No-one likes to be lied to and this certainly is true in the workplace.  According to Dominique Rodgers of Monster.com, the top three company lies are:

– ‘We promote work-life balance’ and then look for people to work long hours and take work home. 

– ‘If we do as we project, everyone will receive an annual bonus.’ When the projections are unobtainable, the bonus never comes no matter how hard people work which of course, breeds animosity. 

– We’ll give you an opportunity to advance your career in our company’ and then fail to deliver goals, milestones and rewards. 



We’re talking to candidates looking for a new and rewarding role every day and we can certainly second all of the above.  Listening to candidates with key skills, it’s clear to see that each and every point above contributes hugely to their search for a new position.  At TD Group

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