The top three reasons employees might be leaving your business


A few things prompted me to discuss this topic. Firstly I was on a plane with a copy of last month’s (June 2017) NEXT magazine and reading an article called “Multi stories”. The statement, “These days figures show the average worker will have 10 different jobs before the age of 40, while younger workers will probably notch up around 15″, got me thinking about the most common reasons candidates tell me (in their interview) they are leaving their current role or why they left previous roles.

Gone are the days when people got a job for life and were content working in the same occupation, for the same company from the time they left school to retirement. Having multiple roles during your career is actually a positive thing for personal development.

Sometimes employees move on from a job or company for the right reasons, after a decent period of time, and will leave on a positive note. Sometimes they even return to that company in the future having acquired new skills and experience.

However, after recruiting in the Christchurch market for a number of years, I have noticed a trend of candidates exiting the same companies, often for the same reasons that could have easily been prevented. Too much staff turnover, too quickly can have some negative and costly outcomes.

The top three reasons I regularly hear from candidates as to why they are leaving or have left roles, in no particular order:

  1. Salary – no annual increase or not getting market rates
  2. Lack of career progression or training opportunities
  3. Work-life balance – wanting more flexible conditions or doing too much overtime

Salary is quite obvious and straightforward, candidates are often motivated by money and this can be a really important factor when they are considering moving on from a role or considering multiple job offers.

I’m going to focus more on lack of career progression, training opportunities and work-life balance, because these are factors that managers may have more ability to change or influence.

Career progression and training opportunities

At the moment I am lucky enough to be working for a recruitment agency that is investing in my professional development. Madison has selected consultants from each branch to participate in an Advanced Recruiter Program with Ross Clennett, who is a High Performance Recruitment Coach. I recently had my second session and have found that participating in this training program has resulted in me feeling more engaged, motivated and valued. I am also noticing that my time management and assertiveness has improved which is making my work day more efficient and productive.

When a company doesn’t have career progression, training or development opportunities, it can lead to high staff turnover. This often means that as a business you are investing your time, money and resources in recruiting and training new staff, instead of investing in your existing employees training and development.

A frequent argument against investing in professional development that I’m sure you’ve heard before is – ‘What if we train our employees and they leave’? I think Sir Richard Branson covered this point when he said, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

Candidates will start to notice when a business is constantly recruiting the same roles and that can result in your employer brand in the marketplace being tarnished, making it more difficult to attract talent.

Work-life balance

A point that has been discussed in the program regarding work-life balance is an EY report that found, “Contrary to popular belief, the actual time spent at work has little impact on productivity”. Employers that encourage their employees to take regular breaks and to clock out on time are likely to find that their workforce is more productive during standard business hours. They are also likely to experience less turnover and sick leave.


As a business I suggest you ask yourself this question: how much is turnover and recruitment of the same roles costing us versus how much investment in training and development would cost to prevent some of that turnover?

Some easy steps to take to avoid losing your high performers are:

1. Creating career pathways
2. Investing in training and courses
3. Promoting high performers from within
4. Salary reviews
5. Offering flexible work conditions

Training options

I recently attended a session hosted by ARA Institute of Canterbury’s Department of Business, all about upskilling and retaining your staff with flexible study options including online, part time and evening courses. They cover a wide range of business areas and can offer lots of options. If you are interested in learning more about these options please get in contact with me for more information and contact details.

Final thoughts

Engaged and motivated employees are more likely to speak positively to their friends, families and networks about your business. They are also more likely to stay within your business or return in the future.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. – Sir Richard Branson