Here are seven root causes-factors that cause employees to disengage and leave:
- They found the job or workplace to be different than what they had expected when hired.
- They were not well matched or challenged in the jobs for which they had been hired, or to which had been assigned or promoted.
- They received too little coaching and feedback from their supervisor.
- They perceived few prospects for professional growth and advancement.
- They felt undervalued or underrecognized, either through lack of informal acknowledgement of their contributions, feeling underpaid, not feeling “in the loop,” not having their input sought, not having the right tools.
- Feeling stressed or burned-out due to overwork or life-work imbalance.
- Loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.
These seven causes are not the reasons most employees give in exit interviews. Departing employees typically respond with the answers their leaders prefer to hear-better pay or opportunity. Through such denial, managers never learn what they need to avoid or correct the real causes of disengagement and turnover.
Most managers believe employees leave mainly because of “pull factors”-pay and opportunity. However, Saratoga’s research concludes that 80 percent are motivated to leave because of these seven “push factors.”
Managers and leaders may not want to acknowledge the real reasons employees leave-since all seven are factors they can influence directly.
The good news is first that some turnover is desirable. Second, between the time employees become disengaged and the point when they leave, there is time and opportunity to re-engage them. Third, if we know why employees disengage and leave, then we also know why they stay and engage. Fourth, since only about 12 percent of employees leave mainly because of their pay, the things we need to do to re-engage most employees are relatively inexpensive, requiring mostly the time and attention of direct managers, the support of HR, and the commitment of senior leaders.