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5 Reasons Why Top Employees Leave and What to Do About It

It’s become increasingly difficult for companies to hold onto good employees.

In a skills-short marketplace, candidates have the power to switch to new companies and positions when they feel unhappy in their roles. This means that businesses need to work even harder at giving their top-performers a reason to stay.

As engagement levels continue to dwindle across Australia, employers need to find ways to nurture the relationships between themselves and their employees. Fortunately, good staff members rarely lose all their passion for a job at once. Disengagement happens gradually, over time, and knowing the top reasons why people leave can help you to create more effective retention plans.

Here are some of the things that may be driving your star performers away.

1. Lack of Opportunity for Growth

Employees in any industry, from any background and at any level will always seek out opportunities for growth. We all want to see a path for bigger and better things in our future. When your people know they have chances to grow and thrive in your company, they’re more likely to feel as though they’re in charge of their own career.

Providing opportunities for growth doesn’t have to mean offering constant promotions or pay rises. Development comes in many different forms, from the chance to take on more challenging work, to a day soaking up some new skills in a training course. A good way to truly engage staff is to give them development opportunities tailored to their specific goals.

Set up regular meetings with top performers to find out how you can help them reach their professional targets.

2. Not Enough Autonomy and Independence

Some employees benefit from regular guidance and support, whereas others prefer the freedom that comes with making their own decisions. While it’s tempting to provide staff members with constant direction to minimise mistakes as much as possible, some people can feel suffocated with too much micro-management.

Trust in the potential of your high-performing teams and empower them to accomplish things on their own. Each person in your organisation is there for a reason – because they have the right skills and attitude to thrive. Let them demonstrate what they can accomplish on their own.

3. No Purpose or Meaning

Modern employees need more than just a salary from their careers – they want purpose.

A good way to make sure that your people feel passionate about their careers is to look for employees whose values coincide with yours during the interview process. A recruitment agency can help you to find candidates who fit with your company culture and vision.

However, if people start to lose their purpose after some time with your company, it might be helpful to conduct “stay” interviews to find out what would help to drive them. For instance, ask:

  • How do you feel about our company values?
  • What inspires you at work?
  • What would make you happier each day?

The more you know how to motivate your people, the easier it will be to keep them satisfied and engaged.

4. They’re Unhappy with the Company Culture

We spend most of our waking lives at work. It only makes sense that we’d want to pursue careers in places that make us feel comfortable and accepted. Consider how your company culture supports and encourages your team. Do you treat every person with respect? Do people work well together, or is there an air of unhealthy competition?

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your culture if it’s not fit for purpose. For instance, implementing a wellness policy at work shows your people that you care about their long-term health and fitness. Hosting team-building events give individuals a chance to work more closely with their peers and discover hidden bonds.

Even strengthening communication through managers with open-door policies can be helpful. Employees appreciate work environments where management is accessible, communication is transparent, and support is available.

5. No Recognition or Appreciation


Even the most talented employee likes validation at times. Staff members like to know that they’re doing their job well and that their efforts are appreciated. Many companies assume that the only way to show appreciation is through wage increases or additional benefits, but that’s not always the case. Even a simple hand-written thank you note can go a long way.

Look for ways to implement personalised recognition in the work environment. When people do something well, let them choose their own reward from a selection of options like a flexible working day, a new training opportunity, or simply a public announcement.

Even the opportunity to take on more responsibility or challenges can be a great reward for driven individuals who want to improve their skills. Speaking to each employee about their preferred forms of recognition will help to drive engagement.

About JobFitts

JobFitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from; HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline.

To find out more visit our website at JobFitts here or call us on (02) 9220 3595 or email here.

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