When do employees go

Why your best employees want to quit

A survey by Rundstedt's career advice service shows that if you want to keep good employees, you should give them free time and ensure a working atmosphere with a feel-good factor. A strong feedback culture can prevent employee departures.

Every termination and the subsequent recruiting costs your company a lot of money. In fact up to 150 percent of an annual salary - at least that's what the National Business Research Institute in Texas determined. This calculation included costs for the job advertisement, hiring a headhunter, the expense of job interviews and the reimbursement of travel expenses. But not only the economic damage is great. Every termination also entails training costs: if new positions are filled, new colleagues first have to arrive and be trained. It takes time until they are fully integrated into the team and are very familiar with the work processes.

Why your employees want to quit

Two factors have been shown to be the reason your employees want to leave the company. That is the result of the "Talents & Trends" survey, for which more than 1,000 participants were surveyed on behalf of the Rundstedt career advisory service together with the market research institute INNOFACT AG. Accordingly, entrepreneurs should keep an eye on the time accounts of their employees, because the main reason for termination for employees is a lack of compensation for overtime. Specifically: More than two thirds of those surveyed (68 percent) would quit their job if the employer did not offer adequate compensation for overtime.

The main reason for the termination is a lack of compensation for the overtime incurred, closely followed by a bad mood. (Graphic: Rundstedt)

This also coincides with our surveys. A kununu analysis based on 55,360 search queries shows which offers are most relevant for job seekers. Right at the front: flexible working hours (51%), followed by home office (33%). This shows that the focus is shifting more and more to the leisure aspect. Working hours and everyday obligations must harmonize. According to the Rundstedt study, the second most common reason for dismissal is a bad mood: 65 percent would look for a new job if the chemistry with their colleagues is no longer right. The respondents also look for alternatives when they are under constant stress and pressure to perform. 60 percent see tight timings and unsustainable deadlines as real reasons for fleeing to another employer.

Academics want a culture of feedback

One group reacts particularly negatively to overtime and a bad working atmosphere: 74 percent of the academics stated that they lacked compensation in the form of free time or wages as a reason for termination. 72 percent are also of the opinion that a bad climate at work would induce them to quit. University graduates also attach great importance to a strong feedback culture: Compared to the average, around eight percent more graduates would quit because of a poor feedback culture. It is particularly important to you to admit your own mistakes and to be able to point out mistakes to other colleagues.

One reason to retain them: That's why good employees quit

Nothing stays forever - and so even the best employee looks around at some point and changes jobs. However, some are more prone to this - and that is not necessarily because better career opportunities or higher salaries are waiting elsewhere. A survey by Priotas, a consultancy specializing in feedback and employee surveys, reveals why employees quit - and how many of those willing to quit actually take their hats.

Intention versus action

In 2015 and 2016, Priotas surveyed around 1,500 people about their intentions to leave. The result: 19 percent of them toyed with the idea of ​​changing employers soon. Of these, 40 percent turned out to have little connection with their employer. Of those who felt strongly connected, only 10 percent wanted to quit. Ultimately, many of them kept their jobs: only about one in three actually had a new employer a year after the survey. However, the majority of them were not connected to their employer here either - to be more precise, the fluctuation rate was 1.5 times as high as that of the “affiliates”.

Warning, termination is imminent!

The results are clear: low loyalty = higher fluctuation. But what specifically bothers the employees about their employer that they feel so little committed to him? Priotas found that out too. The top 5:

  • Corporate culture
  • Earning opportunities
  • working conditions
  • Work-life balance
  • Distance between place of work and place of residence

The “Talents & Trends” survey, commissioned by Rundstedt's career advice service, points to similar reasons. According to this, 65 percent quit because they can't get along with their boss. Around 68 percent are dissatisfied with the overtime compensation, 60 percent with the workload, 58 percent complain about the lack of feedback culture.

Dismissal trap corporate culture

If you summarize the various reasons, the catch becomes clear: For most of them, the corporate culture is not just a direct reason for resignation. It also affects numerous other factors that lead to an increased fluctuation rate: Whether feedback is desired and given constructively, whether the employees and their performance are valued, whether there is an appropriate compensation for overtime, work and leisure are lived in a balanced relationship and many more. Corporate culture is the DNA of every company - and that's how it should be cultivated. You can find out here how you can measure how things are going with your corporate culture.

As is so often the case, when it comes to corporate culture, the fish stinks from the head. If the executive floor does not exemplify the desired culture and involves all employees, the matter will fail - and the competition rubs their hands, as they can expect new colleagues with the best know-how.

Development opportunities and challenges

At the same time, they also want to perform: This is made clear by the Most Wanted study, which is published annually by the management consultancy McKinsey and the online network e-fellows. The survey determines, among other things, the most popular industries among academics and also shows why the respondents choose exactly this industry. Management consultancies come in first place, followed by health-care methods - mainly because the respondents find challenging tasks, opportunities for further development and innovative strength in their desired industries.

The whole package counts

It's never just one factor that makes employees leave their company - and so it's not just a positive aspect. Neither a pleasant group of colleagues nor challenging tasks alone help ensure that your talents remain loyal to you. The von Rundstedt study sums it up: “If you want to keep your employees in the company, you have to offer an attractive overall package.” That does not mean that overtime, for example, cannot be incurred - it often cannot be avoided. If at the same time there is a pleasant feedback culture and an open approach to higher workloads at peak times, the chances are good that the academics will also like to stay with your people and perform at their best.

Warning, termination! There are five warning signs to watch out for

Often comes unexpectedly? This does not apply if an employee is on the run. When you are about to lose your best heads, it always announces itself. It is important that you recognize the warning signals, because then you can take countermeasures in good time. Once the notice of termination is on the table, it is usually too late. Those who dare to jump often already have a new job - or the coffee so openly that they want to turn their back on your company without a new job. In either case, you can't hold it with money or good words. These warning signs indicate that the jump is imminent.

Absenteeism is increasing

Whether he calls in sick more often or takes days off: If the employee is absent more and more often, this can indicate that he is slowly but surely withdrawing from the company. Individual vacation days are often used for job interviews, frequent sickness reports, especially around the weekend, often show that motivation is at zero.

There is no commitment

Until recently, was he all on fire for the project, but today he only does the job according to regulations, doesn’t ask critical questions and doesn’t he come up with new ideas? Anyone who creeps out of business is pretty sure about to take off. Even if he turns down opportunities for further training, you should pay attention - especially if these are not supposed to take place for a few months. Perhaps the employee no longer expects to be in the company at all.

Busy Lizzie

But even if someone suddenly works very enthusiastically to finish their projects and their work performance is better than it ever was, this can be a warning signal. The departing employee may want to get a good report card and score with performance on the last few meters. In the best case, he does not want to impose his work on his colleagues and part with his company on good terms.

Creeping retreat

The valued colleague withdraws from the team, skipping the lunch break more and more often and staying away from team events or the after-work dinner: All of these are signs that he has long since ceased to identify with the company. Usually it's only a matter of time before he leaves. And if he doesn't find a new job so quickly, he often only works according to regulations. But doing so will damage your company even more than leaving.

Request interim report

The clearest warning signal that your team will soon be one head shorter: the employee is requesting an interim reference. This can only be a precautionary measure if the manager changes - and in this case it should even be requested. In all other cases you should seek the conversation, because there is a high degree of certainty that something is wrong.

Warning signs observed - what now?

If you notice any of these signs in your best co-workers, it is time to act. Initially, this does not necessarily mean to grab someone who is willing to change and confront them with your clues - on the contrary. Acting rashly can make him want to leave. If you have the impression that absenteeism is increasing or that work performance is deteriorating, you should first seek additional information that confirms your impression. However, there is no way around a feedback discussion afterwards. Give the employee the opportunity to openly describe their impressions of the job situation, the workload and the atmosphere. If he is massively dissatisfied, there is a high probability that it will come out with the language - and you have the opportunity to improve things.

Trust is better

In a company where there is a culture of trust and open feedback is allowed and desired, such a conversation ideally does not even take place. Then the employee will approach you directly if something does not suit him. If he quits for other reasons - for example because of a desired change of location or a higher salary offer - the chances are good that he will talk to you and express his willingness to change before the letter of resignation is on the table. Even then you can usually no longer persuade him to stay, but at least you are prepared and have enough time to find a new talented employee and to train him.

Dismissals can often be avoided in advance if you know what the mood is about in your team - and how this is changing for individual employees. With kununu engage you can find out on a daily basis.

Attention boss: this is how bosses scare off their best employees

If your employee turns his back on your company, one thing is often to blame: the boss. Good employees don't leave their jobs, they leave their boss - but why? What are the bosses doing wrong and how can it be better?

70 percent of the motivation of an employee is directly related to the behavior of the line manager, reports the studies by the market and opinion research institute Gallup. In short, the job can be an absolute dream, if the management fails, it is of little use - the employee is gone sooner or later or does his job according to regulations. And that can hurt your company even more than if the frustrated employee turned his back on your company. Here we show you some typical boss mistakes.

No communication

He keeps his goals behind the mountain and what exactly he wants from the team, he doesn't say either: The dumb fish is an unpleasant contemporary. He often puts forward a lack of time, but in truth the non-communicating boss is often overwhelmed himself. If he then criticizes the results in detail, even the most motivated employee will soon find it too much. Boss tip: try transparency. Clear instructions, strict goals and deadlines - and everyone already knows what to do. You can also find out how employees can be motivated here.

Too much pressure

Everything and that immediately - it should be clear that this is hardly feasible. Nevertheless, managers like to pass on the pressure they receive from above, more or less unfiltered, downwards. The possible consequences: overwhelmed employees, dwindling motivation, frequent sick leave and finally a wave of layoffs. The solution lies in mistake number one: If you communicate openly why the project has absolute priority and demands the highest performance, you remain transparent and take your team seriously. Then it also works with the performance.

Deaf ears

Suggestions for improvement? What nonsense, we've always done it that way! Anyone who receives such an answer to ideas and suggestions will soon no longer be able to answer them. And that not only jeopardizes the company's innovation potential. Sooner or later the employee closes down and prefers to concentrate on finding a new job. Note: Employees who criticize feel connected to their company and want to improve their working environment and advance their company. You don't have to implement every suggestion, but take it first.

Lack of feedback and recognition

A lack of constructive feedback falls on a similar track, from both sides. Your team should be able to express its opinion as well as you - and numerous studies have shown that feedback is motivating. You can find more on the subject in our detailed feedback article. And feedback doesn't always have to be negative - on the contrary. Anyone who has done well is happy to be recognized.

Increase workload without paying anything in return

Good employees like to do more - but they do not allow themselves to be exploited. Short-term overtime is fine. If, however, it is foreseeable that your high potentials should regularly perform better in the future, this cannot be done without consideration. A higher salary and a promotion show appreciation for your work and motivate - and again there is one less reason to quit.

Establish a healthy corporate culture

Obtaining and giving targeted feedback on a regular basis is not easy for many managers - be it because there is not enough time in the stress of the project or because agile and independently working teams make the feedback culture more difficult. Digital feedback makes this process a lot easier. With kununu engage, you automatically get weekly feedback from your team, identify problems early on and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Would you like to learn more about retention management? Then you can find our complete guide here.