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7 Reasons Why Good Employees Quit

Your aspirations of building a successful business are slowly coming to fruition. You’ve established that there is a need for your product or service through thorough market research. Your company has finally been registered and you’ve officially opened your doors.

Chances are, you’re well aware of the resources needed to win over new clients, follow through on your commitments and ensure repeat business. When we say resources, yes, we mean communication channels to reach out to potential customers, production lines, and processes too. But more crucial to your operation’s lifeblood is its people.

This invaluable resource will drive your vision to reality. And, finding the most suitable team members is the first step in building a sustainable company.

As a business owner or even senior manager of your department, part of your role is to ensure motivation among human resources. This is done by creating opportunities for growth and guiding their goals to align with company objectives. There are also things that you must avoid doing in order to keep employees happy in their roles.

It’s not always possible to keep employees happy, however. As a leader in your organization, it’s vital to look for signs of discontent, especially in resources that are key to your company’s success, and address these issues before the situation becomes unmanageable. 



1. No communication

As a leader in a company, you’ll have to communicate your business strategy from the top down. It’s essential that employees are aware of the company goals so they appreciate how their role in the business plays a part in it.

Not everyone who goes into business makes for an adequate leader where it’s one thing to recognize an opportunity or conceive the next best business idea but quite another to inspire employees to share in your ambitions.

Having the foresight to see how the potential of each team member fits in with the bigger picture allows leaders to plan accordingly and guides their decision-making. Communication is a two-way process. Creating a platform where employees can give feedback and voice their opinions makes them feel heard and this, in turn, builds company loyalty.

2. Unclear roles and expectations

Although you may have found the perfect candidate with the right skills and relevant experience to fill a vacancy at your company, role clarity is fundamental to getting things off to a good start.

Once you’ve managed to place someone who fits the job description, you’ll need to take the time to establish short, medium, and long-term goals with the new employee. This approach helps give them direction that aligns with the company objectives and creates a system to monitor their progress.

3. No growth opportunities

Most employees aspire to grow with the company they work for. Besides on-the-job learning that naturally takes place, managers should also consider opportunities for further training. Depending on the timeframes you have set with your workers to achieve certain goals when you sit down to assess their development and find that there are shortfalls, a manager will have to ascertain whether it’s from the candidate’s lack of willingness or their limited ability.

We will look at some of the reasons for the former further on in this article, but where poor performance is a result of incompetence in certain areas, we have to give them the opportunity to improve. Establishing a skills matrix within your organization helps identify the knowledge required to execute tasks specific to a particular job category.

Although taking time off work to do formal training can be disruptive to operations, it’s a necessary sacrifice a manager has to make. Reason being that if an employee can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to their daily activities, the exercise will have proved to be a return on investment. Attending workshops and seminars is another way to create employee exposure to the best industry practices, bringing value to your business. 

4. Work overload

A business owner should aim for zero staff turnover because part of the company’s brand is maintaining a positive image in the public eye. One of the ways in which you can establish this is by setting achievable goals within reasonable timeframes. Although you want to encourage growth amongst your employees by giving them challenging tasks, you must moderate this so as not to make employees feel inadequate if they can’t deliver. It will also save you time, as you won’t have to reassign the task because you’ve set attainable targets.

5. Ineffective team management

Teamwork is a key ingredient in creating a positive work environment where your staff cooperates to achieve results that they can be proud of. As a department head or business owner, you must have your finger on the pulse to pick up if there is any unhappiness because one team member isn’t pulling their weight.

This situation compromises group efforts where, if there is already discontent among the group about something work-related, the inclination is to think, ‘Well, if they can get away with it, why can’t I?’ To prevent this toxic work environment from manifesting, you’ll need to take difficult but necessary disciplinary action where you’ll have to determine whether the situation is salvageable or not.

6. No recognition

Rewarding employees is necessary to keep staff morale up. Employees need to feel that their efforts are recognized and are compelled to maintain their performance levels.  Over and above the standard yearly increase given, a business owner and/or manager may decide to provide additional rewards based on the following: 

  • Timeous and accurate work. The majority of your staff complement will consist of the good ‘worker bee.’ This category of workers is happy doing routine tasks. They are consistent, diligent, and reliable. They are committed and are usually your long-standing employees whose length of service to the business should be rewarded.
  • Going the extra mile. Employees that fall under this category look for ways in which to work smarter and not harder. They are solution orientated and persistently look for more efficient ways of doing things. By creating simplified processes and, ideally, documenting them, they make it easy to fill their role so that they can move up the company ranks because they’ve saved the business time and, in turn, money.
  • Business-minded. Finding a candidate who falls under this category is rare; therefore, it’s in the management’s best interest to recognize them and not waste that potential. They are able to identify opportunities and are usually the ones who propose ideas to drive the business forward. This level of strategic thinking and commitment is highly deserving of some form of recognition.

Now that you’ve identified which staff merit a reward, you’ll need to consider what form this incentive takes. A good leader appreciates that different people have different values. They need to identify where an individual may prefer to have extra time off of work instead of getting additional money.

Giving employees this option further solidifies employee loyalty to the company.

7. Unresolved Conflict in the Workplace

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. However, when employees do not get along, and the conflict goes unresolved, you may see in increase in employee departures. A workplace with high levels of conflict can lead to increased stress, burnout, and absenteeism. This can lead to employees seeking employment elsewhere to escape the hostile environment.

It is important for organizations to proactively manage and resolve conflicts in the workplace amongst employees and management.  Doing so will help foster a positive work environment and, hopefully, reduce turnover. This can be achieved through effective communication, open-door policies, conflict resolution training, and regular employee feedback and engagement programs.

The bottom line

We have seen how communicating your company’s vision gives employees direction on how to put it into action, which is an important first step in retaining good employees. They see it as an opportunity for growth, and when given a clear role, they’re motivated to perform accordingly.

Retaining a productive workforce also entails coordinating operations so that everyone has a feasible workload. Employees need to have the room to self-manage and not having to crisis manage constantly.

We can also conclude that teams deserve the time they take to manage and keep motivation at optimum levels.

Lastly, we saw how having a reward system in place is in the company’s best interest. Recognizing employee achievements places the business in a better position to achieve its goals in the long term because it’s been able to keep its most fitting human resources.

While there are times when a good employee stops caring about their job that has nothing to do with the work or leadership, address these 6 reasons will help keep good employees on staff.


This article was first published in August 2021 but has been updated and expanded

Mary Francois Robinson on Linkedin
Mary Francois Robinson
Staff Writer: Mary Francois is a writer with a strong footing in the adult learning space. Her focus is creating valuable content based on her experience in business development. She takes inspiration from Maya Angelou’s wise words, ‘when you learn, teach. When you grow, give.’

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Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Leading Your Team · Your Mindset

Staff Writer: Mary Francois is a writer with a strong footing in the adult learning space. Her focus is creating valuable content based on her experience in business development. She takes inspiration from Maya Angelou’s wise words, ‘when you learn, teach. When you grow, give.’

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