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Turnover 2019: Why Employees Leave [survey results]

A few weeks ago, we asked you the question “If you were to start looking for a new job today, what would be the number one reason?” The answer won’t be a surprise. 

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I went back and checked your responses from 2018 and guess what, the turnover reasons rank exactly the same: 1) compensation and benefits, 2) opportunities for advancement, 3) supportive management, and 4) flexible work. The percentages did change.  

  • Compensation and benefits increased 11 points (from 24 percent last year)
  • Opportunities for advancement increased a point (from 21 percent last year)
  • Supportive management decreased a point (from 20 percent in 2018)
  • Flexible work decreased 9 points (from 20 percent in 2018) 

Training and development was at the bottom and in the single digits both years. There could be a few reasons for this. I believe employees have really embraced the “own your career” mantra that became so popular during the Great Recession. As a result, training looks different. Training can take the form of MOOCs, books, blogs, webinars, etc. Many of these resources are free. 

From the survey results, I also noticed a few more things:

Flexible work is on the rise. I’m going to assume the year over year decrease in flexible work as a reason for turnover coincides with the increase in organizations offering it. I believe that companies are starting to realize with the increase in technology that they can offer this option, it doesn’t cost too much, and employees like it. It also keeps employees from choosing to freelance as a way to have a more flexible lifestyle

Speaking of freelancing, in this labor market, organizations do have to factor in the gig economy from two angles. First, employees looking for career advancement might choose freelancing as a way to have more control over their careers. And companies that don’t have much to offer in the way of career advancement might need to start looking at freelancers as a way to fill positions. While freelancing could cost more than an hourly employee, companies don’t have to pay benefits. Which leads us to the next point…

Compensation and benefits continue to be an the issue for workers. At some point, organizations will have to create competitive salary packages and benefits. If you want the best talent, it will be necessary. Not surprisingly, I’m starting to see an increasing number of organizations offering signing bonuses. 

Finally, management development still needs attention. While training was last on the list, that doesn’t mean organizations can stop doing it. One area that continues to be a cause of turnover is management. 

While this survey was only one question and there are many factors that go into turnover, there is one other interesting thing I’d like to point out. I didn’t ask the question “Why did you leave?” I asked the question “Why would you start looking?” They are two different questions. And for the past two years, employees have provided answers that they probably are very comfortable telling the company. 

In my experience, employees wouldn’t hesitate to tell me during an exit interview, “I’m making more money.” Or “I’m getting more responsibility.” On the other hand, employees were sometimes reluctant to say, “My boss is a jerk.” Because they didn’t want to burn a bridge.  See where I’m going with this? Employees are starting to look for new opportunities based on reasons that they are usually very open about – money and opportunities. Companies have the answer to turnover right in front of them. The question becomes are they going to do something about it?

P.S. Hey everyone! Just a quick note from behind the scenes. Mr. Bartender and I are celebrating our anniversary this month. We will be posting content, but do have a few things planned, so it may not be on our regular schedule. Thanks for reading and supporting HR Bartender! It means a lot to us.

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About Mildred Blankson

I am a Human Resource Professional with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. I have several years of experience in Human Resources and i hope this blog will be a great resource in helping you find the perfect job or candidate that you seek.

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