Why Your Employees Want to Quit

April 3, 2015

9:00 am

About 10 months into my first job after college, my supervisor came into my office and delivered the news: she was going to quit, and I would probably be promoted.

It was bittersweet, because I had to admit that I was going to quit in a few months, too. Even with so much notice, our department still ended up one woman short for a few weeks. Our HR director was sad to see us go, and he made a few comments that suggested I was crazy for quitting my job.

When employees quit, other employees tend to be surprised – just as I was. Despite all the talk about transparency and communication, contemplating quitting your job is decidedly not something to talk to your colleagues about. It immediately creates a sense of distance, like you’re abandoning the cause and defecting to the enemy. So for employers, it’s hard to figure out if and why employees want to quit.

You can use anonymous tools like TINYpulse to glean that information, but you can also consult FlexJobs’s recent survey of over 1,000 people considering a career change. About 3/4 of their respondents want to change careers before the end of the year, and most of them are in experienced positions (not entry-level, but not managers, either).

Here are the top reasons people want a career change:

  • Work-life balance (59%)
  • Desire for more meaningful work (47%)
  • Stress from current career (40%)
  • Money or cost savings (37%)

And here are the other benefits they’re looking to gain:

  • Positive impact on personal relationships (76%)
  • Healthier or take better care of themselves (84%)

Many of these concerns would apply to startup employees, where work-life balance is harder to come by, stress is high, and the pay is often low.

What to do? Put this knowledge to use and allow it to shape your startup culture. Meet regularly with individual employees and truly listen to their concerns. And make work-life balance a priority for yourself, too – otherwise you might be the one contemplating a career change soon.

Image credit: Flickr / Ludovic Bertron

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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