Why People Leave Their Jobs

Culture

July 19, 2022

Abby Parker

X min

5 min

The script has flipped from “what can people do for the organization” to “what can the organization do for its people.” To know what makes people want to stay with a company, it’s helpful to know first what makes them leave.

Why People Leave Their Jobs
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Table of Contents

For much of the world, the pandemic is far from over. Navigating this ever-changing landscape can feel disorienting, to say the least. Yet, many organizational leaders have utilized this time to learn from their past misdirection, and thrive on unfamiliar, new, and exciting ideas.  

Retaining valuable talent is essential not only to keep your organization on track, but also to explore untravelled avenues.

“Nearly one in four workers (23%) say they are actively trying to change their job and/or move into another industry that they believe is more future-proof.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

The script has flipped from “what can people do for the organization” to “what can the organization do for its people.” Companies that follow this new script are attracting more talent and holding onto them for longer.

To know what makes people want to stay with a company, it’s helpful to know first what makes them leave.

1. Lack of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policies

People need to feel fundamentally supported; this starts with comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. Many people leave jobs because their employer isn’t meeting this bare minimum, let alone building inclusive culture strategies or sharing educational resources throughout the company.

ADP recently published an outline of current sentiments echoed by workers around the world, People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View.

The report shows that 76% of the global workforce, “would consider looking for a new job if they discovered their company had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

More notable findings:

  • In a third of cases, employees are left to drive gender pay equality and a diversity and inclusion policy within companies. One in seven say no one is driving inclusive initiatives — a response most common in North America and Europe.
  • 36% of workers feel there is an unequal mix of ethnicities and genders in their companies.
  • Only 37% of workers think that people with disabilities are equally represented in the workforce.
“Employers’ strategies could also benefit from encompassing how to support and champion neurodiversity, such as dyslexia or autism, among the workforce.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

2. Low Job Satisfaction, and Pessimistic Outlook

The impulse to change jobs for a more future-proof career path is growing. Employees have higher expectations because they want to feel secure in rapidly changing, uncertain times.

Just like your company, employees want to be at the leading edge of their fields — push the envelope, think outside of the box, and create something they’re proud of. Yet, they don’t want to sign themselves up for burnout and impossible performance standards.

“For the one in 10 who are not satisfied with their current employment, almost half (49%) say it is due to being given increased responsibility for no extra pay.” –  ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

More notable findings:

  • 46% of workers feel dissatisfied in their positions because there are no opportunities to progress.
  • 41% of workers say they are dissatisfied because they receive fewer benefits than initially expected.  
  • 23% of employees are searching for more future-proof work, an increase from one in seven (15%) who said the same in 2021.

The JD-R Model, created by researchers Arnold Bakker and Evangelia Demerouti in 2006, is a different way to represent, measure, and ultimately improve employee well-being. It splits working conditions into two categories: job demands and job resources. 

Job demands are the physical and emotional stressors of someone’s role. Job resources are the physical, social, and organizational resources that reduce the stress of someone’s role.

“The JD-R Model states that when job demands are high and job positives are low, stress and burnout are common. Conversely, good job positives can offset the effects of extreme job demands, and encourage motivation and engagement.” – Mind Tools Content Team, The JD-R Model Analyzing and Improving Well-Being

Promisingly, the JDR model can give leaders clarity on turnover risk before it’s too late. Oftentimes, leaders only gain this clarity after a valuable employee leaves.

With the JDR model, if someone’s job demands far outweigh the resources available to them, employers have measurable information they can act on.

3. Salary Matters, but it’s not all that Matters 

At the end of the day, people work to feed families, pay bills, and improve their quality of life. Competitive salaries can give someone more freedom to do so, but maybe they’re looking for a more sincere incentive. People want to be part of a community where their creativity isn’t limited, and they can bring their authentic selves to work.

Daily recognition is a powerful engagement incentive, whether your company has the capacity to offer competitive salaries or not. In several cases, smaller companies set themselves apart from competitors by building a transparent, collaborative, and supportive culture. 

“More than half (53%) would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance, and a similar proportion (50%) would take a pay cut to guarantee flexibility in how they structure their hours – even if it meant the total hours worked did not change.” –  ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022 

4. Their Mental Health is Suffering

At Kudos, we value happiness. Of course, we don’t expect our employees to be happy 100% of the time, but we support them in their pursuit of happiness. And we are dedicated to eliminating any obstacles in their way.

Valuing your employee’s psychological well-being is integral to improving their sense of belonging. Especially considering the large portion of the workforce struggling with their mental health:

  • 67% of workers feel stressed at least once a week, and 15% feel stressed every day.
  • 41% are stressed by an increased amount of responsibility during the pandemic.
  • 53% believe their work is suffering because of their poor mental health.
  • 70% of workers feel their managers support their mental health, and 76% feel supported by their colleagues.

Effective remote leaders seem to have a better handle on the “people-first” approach. In virtual environments, leaders need to be intentional and creative about connecting with their teams. In-office leaders don’t have the same physical and technological barriers to overcome, so they are often less proactive about connecting with their employees.

"Only one in 11 remote workers (9%) say their employer is not doing anything proactively to promote positive mental health at work, as opposed to around one in three (34%) of those in the workplace.” – ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2022

That said, feeling truly connected in any environment takes dedication, thoughtfulness, and compassion. 

5. People Want a Work Style to Match their Lifestyle

For many, working at home can contribute to their stress. Maybe they’re juggling parenthood, a tense roommate dynamic, or any number of distractions in their home life. But, when employers extend their support to remote workers the “out-of-office” benefits shine through.

 Alternative working models support the future-proof trajectory people want to be on. Workplaces that offer remote or flexible opportunities are more likely to keep their valued members on board:

  • Two-thirds of the global workforce (64%) have already, or would consider leaving their jobs if their employer asked them to return full-time to the office.
  • More than half (52%) would accept a pay cut of 11% on average to guarantee remote or flexible work arrangements.
  • People who work from home are more likely to feel optimistic about the next five years in the workplace; 89% say so compared to 77% of their peers who travel to work.
  • Remote workers are more satisfied with their jobs than those working in-office (90% versus 82%).

To keep people around, invest in a working style that complements their lifestyle. Otherwise, they will leave to find a better match.

Making the Case to Stay

The truth is, that talented people leave great jobs for nuanced reasons. Thoughtful employee recognition strategies can address these nuances, remind people of their unique worth, and support their individuality. Peer-to-peer recognition makes people feel appreciated, valued, and irreplaceable.

Change is inevitable, but companies that intentionally build positive relationships with their employees also build a positive legacy. And should anyone have to leave your company, they will take that legacy with them.

So, be a company that’s great to work for, and to be from.

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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