why people leave their jobs

At Cohesion we conduct exit interviews for our clients across a range of industry sectors.  As a third party company providing this service we get the real reasons, not the ’safe’ reason a leaver would give to their Manager or HR exitprofessional face to face who is working internally for the company.

Exit interviews can tell us so much about why people leave their job and also valuable information about improvements which can be done to reduce attrition and improve employee engagement.

Download our e-book on Exit Interviews for more tips on exit & retentions within your company

Why do Exit Interviews? 

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know why your staff are really leaving your business and this is where outsourcing your exit process comes in handy. When you outsource to a third party, staff are more likely to be honest about their reasons for leaving.

We have analysed the data from Exit interviews we conducted here at Cohesion for our clients in 2013, and this revealed the top 3 reasons for leaving:

1. Work hours /life balance.

Here are some comments from leavers on this subject….

“They need to get people to work less hours and smarter instead of pressurising people to work longer.”

“I was told I’d be on 20 hour contract, but when I joined it was only 10 hours.”

“Company just expected too much, my manager kept pushing for more and more hours…”

It seems that work life balance and the right hours to fit in with other responsibilities are a major factor when people make the decision to leave.  Having flexibility around hours is really key in keeping people in their job.  Having the opportunity to work flexibly, take time off for family commitments and take holiday when requested are all important.

Also not being given enough contracted hours or pressures to work over the contracted hours play a big part in people’s decision to leave.  Many of you will know that from the 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to most employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the date of making a request.

The previous statutory procedure for considering flexible working requests will cease to apply – instead employers are required to deal with requests in a reasonable manner and timescale. So now is the time to review your policies and handbooks and perhaps look at how you can retain your people from leaving for this reason.

why people leave jobs

2. Lack of progression

From our research the second most frequent reason for leaving was lack of progression.  Here’s what some leavers said about this…

“There needs to be more structure around career development and progression, to identify top talent and work out a career path for those individuals”

“To promote internally before looking outside- have more faith in the people they have “

“I was promised that there would be chances for progression which was simply not true.”

Keeping promises about training and development and having clearly defined career progression paths are key in keeping people in the business.  Failing to help staff develop causes frustration and can be a first step in looking at other opportunities outside of the business.

why people leave jobs

3. Pay

The third popular reason for leaving a company was Pay.  Some common themes on pay were…..

“Pay is very poor for the skill level and the targets were in relation to selling things that customers didn`t need.”

“I enjoyed the job but got offered more money.”
“There needs to be an increase to salary for staff so they are competitive, pay people more money and I feel they would stay.”

“… there needs to be more transparency around salary, bonuses etc. “

Being competitive with salary and benefits is vitally important; this goes hand in hand with career progression, of course.   If an employee sees they are working towards a career goal within the company and have a clearly defined future, they will remain engaged despite having a lesser salary now, as they see the bigger picture.  This falls down when promises are not kept and training and development doesn’t happen.

The cost of replacing staff is high, with advertising, assessing, time  taken for interviewing followed with reference checking and training it’s not just the cost to the business but time to get your new staff on board with your business – have you really got the time and money to do this?


Do you know the real reason why your staff leave your business? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you retrieve this information and help you use it to improve your business.