The reasons happy employees leave

It’s never easy to have an employee leave. The employee seemed happy and their work was good. They were well liked and respected by their manager and team members. There weren’t any obvious signs that they were searching for a new job. What made this otherwise happy employee decide to leave their job?

  1. There’s no room for growth.

Even the happiest employee will leave a company if they’ve been in their position for a while with no room for advancement. Stagnation is the number one reason employees quit and can happen within months or years depending on how patient an employee is.

To avoid this, ensure that employee growth doesn’t just happen by getting a promotion. Give employees ways to develop their skills and take on additional responsibility. This will keep them engaged at work and allow them to grow.

  1. There are changes within the company.

Changes in management, team dynamics, or company policy can cause a once happy employee to leave. It’s common for there to be a bit of an adjustment period after a change, but some employees never fully get on board. If they feel too uncomfortable with the change, they’ll start to look for another job.

A change in people, such as a new manager taking over or restucturing teams that people work in, has the greatest impact on employees. Generally, the longer a relationship has been in place, the harder it is for employees to embrace change. Be clear on why the change happened and what the future looks like as things change. Help employees adjust by providing them with guidance and resources as needed.

  1. There’s no room for flexibility.

Flexible work is becoming a top priority for employees, yet most companies still insist on traditional 9-5 work arrangements. This rigidity doesn’t fit well with employees’ desire for work-life balance or work-life integration, nor does it accurately reflect the number of hours employees are actually working. The reality of today’s workplace is that work doesn’t stop when employees leave the office.

To address this, consider allowing for flexible working hours. Sometimes, no matter how happy an employee is, the lure of a less rigid schedule is enough for them to leave their job.

  1. They aren’t getting enough recognition.

Recognition goes a long way in keeping employees happy. Employees need to know that their work is valued and their contributions aren’t going unnoticed. Silence from managers can lead employees to believe they aren’t respected and ultimately drive them to look for a new job. Be wary of recognition that is too generic and impersonal, as it can actually do more harm than good.

Make sure that employees are getting recognition for the right things. If their contributions to a large project go unnoticed but they’re frequently rewarded for smaller accomplishments, that’s sending a mixed message. Being told ‘job well done’ on something small means much less than the same compliment on something bigger. Sincere recognition that is personalised to both the individual and the accomplishment is the most effective.


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