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Wondering Why Employees Quit? Take a Look at Your Company’s Leadership

Toby Graham /
employee with things in box

Organizational leaders, I have some good news and bad news.

Let’s start with the bad: the next time one of your employees quits, it will probably be your fault. You’ve probably heard that people leave employers, not jobs. Study after study bears this out. Research from Gallup, for instance, indicates that 75% percent of cases of voluntary turnover occur due to employees’ issues with their immediate supervisors. 

Here’s the good news: most employees are willing to give you a second chance—or a hundred second chances. As business intelligence expert Jon Christiansen writes in The Harvard Business Review, “only about a quarter of employees that leave do so within their first year,” giving employers “plenty of time to assess flight risks and address them.”

And here’s even more good news: you don’t need to invest in some fancy data analytics platform to identify retention problem areas. Christiansen explains:

“Even predictive models that can identify the behavioral patterns that reveal who will quit don’t excel at explaining why they do. This is likely because the reasons people quit are deep-rooted and complex. During my fifteen years working in data science, I have run countless predictive models on employee retention, student retention, and customer churn across industry verticals, including healthcare, energy, and higher education. Through my work, I’ve identified eight common leadership mistakes that help explain this why. Understanding them, and how they impact your team, will help you identify those who are at flight risk, and make changes that may convince them to stay.”

We’ve covered a few of those 8 common mistakes before on the KPA blog. Take a look at Christiansen’s full list:

  • Setting inconsistent goals or expectations.
  • Having too many process constraints.
  • Wasting your resources.
  • Putting people in the wrong roles.
  • Assigning boring, or overly easy, tasks.
  • Failing to create a psychologically safe culture.
  • Creating a work environment that is too safe.
  • Leading with bias.

For a full explanation of each issue, along with strategies for avoiding it, be sure to read the full article: “8 Things Leaders Do That Make Employees Quit.”

Struggling with turnover? You’re not alone. Learn why employees are leaving jobs at higher rates than ever before and what you can do to boost retention at your organization.

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