Reasons for employees to leave an organization


The rising attrition within industries is a well-known fact but very few HR executives have been able to pinpoint the ‘exact’ reason for this growing trend. While the reasons are many, one ‘Attrition and Retention’ survey shows one of the top reasons for talent attrition to be ‘external inequity of compensation’ and that 27 per cent of the employees in their exit interviews mentioned compensation as the primary reason. It comes as no surprise that money is an important factor but what’s surprising is that other facts are also emphasized by various experts that there are several other factors that influences an employee’s decision to leave, besides pay.

HR experts say that gone are the days when ‘salary’ was the sole motivating factor for an employee to leave an organization. Inequity in compensation followed by limited career opportunities and role stagnation are stated as the top three reasons for attrition. Therefore simply hiking one’s salary in an endeavor to retain valuable employee will serve no purpose as today’s workforce has a lot going during his/her decision making process and it’s certainly not restricted to just pay.
There are varied reasons for an employee to leave his/her job, salary can be considered as one of the main reasons to quit, but it’s not the sole one. Salary is used frequently as the reason but there are definitely other factors that influence the decision of an employee to leave. Salary, though significant, is not the only factor which makes an employee quit.

Attrition also happens when people are not comfortable with their work environment, team mates, superiors or the job profile itself. There are also cases when people quit their jobs due to personal and family pressures and sometimes, they even cite location preferences as a reason. In one particular organization it has been observed that the number of employees especially at the junior management level and the front line functions have left them for better career prospects, higher education, etc.

The study also suggests that lack of career opportunities, role stagnation, and the kind of relationship one shares with his/her manager are also reasons that make an employee vulnerable to an external opportunity. The most important and significant contributor to job changes is not quite surprisingly the superior one reports to. Recognition from one’s superior is perhaps the most important facet of one’s corporate expectations and outweighs everything else. Needless to say that constant criticism, nitpicking and poor performance reviews are the biggest source of discomfort for an employee within the workplace.

Salary raises come next in the list of factors influencing an employee’s decision to leave as most people surprisingly decide to quit just after increments are announced. When employees feel that there is unfair treatment bestowed upon some employees or if they feel that their experience in the organization is not adding any value to their professional lives, they begin to look for growth opportunities elsewhere.

Leaving trend:

It is usually the middle and junior management employees that leave when it comes to compensation. The fact is that higher attrition is being faced in the junior management cadre as the job market is luring this segment of employees in an endeavor to find the right fit. For most of the younger candidates, salary is not the key motivator but the job role/profile figures on the top of their priority list. However, considering this, the key motivator for professionals at this age is that their learning curve and the challenges given to them should not come to a standstill.

These employees want to work on new projects, must have challenging jobs and must constantly keep learning. There is a large gap between what employees expect to know and what HR and business communicates. Also the fact is that while organizations measure their compensation competitiveness against a defined group of companies which are relevant from a business and talent standpoint, employees measure their level of satisfaction by whatever information is available in public domain and hence in an absence of inadequate communication from the organization, it is left for the employee to decipher on his/ her own.

If salary can be a reason to leave, then the organization has to look at their pay structure and their compensation plans to ensure that their employees stay. Organizations are dedicating enough resources in order to measure competitiveness of compensation on a regular basis. Studies show that marginal ROI is significantly higher if an employer invests in building a more rewarding work environment – specifically focusing on the key drivers of engagement.

It would take more than a push in the salary levels to keep an employee working in an organization. An organization must ensure that when a person joins in, an employer invests in training and clearly communicates a growth path and ensure that the learning curve should not stop. Therefore, the organization needs to ask itself whether they are willing to create ‘key motivators’ within the existing company or simply let their employees wander towards ‘other companies’.


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