Why do People Leave?

Now it could be you who is looking to leave your job – new year, new you and all that, or it may have dawned on you that good people on your team are leaving you.

So why do people leave? Commonly it is said that people leave managers not companies – so are they leaving because of you? Are you thinking of leaving because of your line manager?

If it is a question of motivation, then perhaps you should ask are you (or are they) motivated? If you were to shoot from the hip and answer the question “why do you go to work”, then you are likely to say money. But, think about that for a little bit longer and your answer is likely to change. I am not ignoring the need for people to earn enough money, but when they do – what motivates them next?

The 6 most common reasons that people give are the following:

1. Mismatch between expectations and reality. The interviewer fails to describe the position accurately. Initial expectations do not meet the reality of working for the company.
2. Lack of communication and support. New employees will expect that they will receive appropriate support. Day-to-day work pressures can sometimes make this difficult This can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety and insecurity.
3. Challenge. The lack of challenge within a role can lead to feelings of being ‘in a rut’. Employees may think that their only option is to leave.
4. Lack of recognition. Employees may feel that their efforts and commitment are not recognized and appreciated by their manager or team.
5. Training and development. If an employee is not developed or stretched within his or her role, a company is merely providing a job rather than a career. Training adds value for both the individual and the company. Without it the perception may be fostered that the company has no commitment to its people.
6. Cultural fit. Every company has its own style or culture. Problems can occur when there is a mismatch between an individual’s approach and the ethos of the company.

So, what matters to you?

Leaving money aside, give it some thought and write your own top 3 motivational factors for happiness and fulfilment in work.


Consider these when you apply for a new role e.g. will they be met? And you should consider them with your existing employees – are you treating them in a way that means they will stay and be great assets for you, or will they be taking their skills elsewhere?

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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