Perennial Question for Organizations – Why Good Employees Leave?

Companies claim to do everything right! Still they fail to get a complete grip over reasons and solutions for staff attrition – especially for the high performing talent that really matters.

Organizations are strange places.

One moment everything seems hunky dory and the very next minute some change sweeps the calm away and ushers changes that are on most occasions not welcoming.

Employee Resignation is one such pain point!

While working as an enthusiastic HR team member, I often wondered why good employees leave?

After all they have great salaries, plenty of benefits, offshore exposure and peer adulation!

This curious streak made me dig the real stuff behind the “glitter gold surface” where I found many answers that sometimes go amiss in the fancy exit surveys.

Valid Reasons for Leaving a Job – As Quoted in the Exit Surveys

Exit interview formats differ from one company to other. Some are more aggressive in nailing down the problem and aiming to win the employee back.

Others just serve the administrative formality and are forgotten before the employee’s last day.

Exit interview formats differ from one company to other

However, the commonality among various versions comes from the reasons of exit mentioned by employees.

Some of the usual form options ticked by employees include:

  • For Career Advancement and Growth Opportunity
  • Seek Job Challenge
  • Incompatible Work Culture
  • Higher Education
  • Higher Compensation
  • Work Relationships

A considerable fraction of employees sugarcoat the responses or provide vague elaboration on the above pointers.

Few others are in too much hurry to wrap things up and couldn’t care less about the exit process.

Result? The company and its people continue to function in the exact same manner as before with some knee-jerk reactions here and there.

Resignation is unavoidable phenomena, but protecting your key talent and letting them contribute for longer timespan can minimize its impact.

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Why Good Employees Leave? Top 5 Real Reasons that Every Entrepreneur Should Know

With employers feeling the skills gap pinch, they are assertively trying to grab the best and brightest performers available in the market.

As per LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report, 2016  – a whopping 90% of professionals are either actively looking for a job or open to exploring opportunities by talking to recruiters, even those who are happy with their current jobs.

A whopping 90% of professionals are either actively looking for a job

Business Owners operate from a competitive landscape and in their bid to hunt down great hires; the in-house employees often end up being neglected.

This costs company in terms of finances and intellectual property.

Instead of investing 3/4th of the efforts on recruiting, the same can be put to good use like understanding culture dynamics, correcting employee deterrents and nurturing the organization talent in customized ways.

Here are some “behind the scenes” realities of the typical alibis given by high performers to leave a company:

1) I doubt that I am paid well

Stagnant wages surely account for disincentives where minimal or zilch rise in salary makes the employee search for greener pastures.

But more and more exit experiences reveal the super villain to be “comparison of wages” a.k.a. “What my colleague in the same grade is earning?”

The super villain to be “comparison of wages”

It is more about relative pay than absolute earning.

If there are huge disparities in the pay cheque of employees handling roughly the same nature/quantum of responsibilities, you better get prepared for employee adieus.

2) No one to show “My Way” to top

The LinkedIn Talent Trends study shows that a staggering 43% of people leave their jobs due to lack of career advancement opportunities.

Employees want to feel the professional wheel in motion and not get locked up in a groove doing the same thing in 10 different ways for 10 straight years.

They want to know how they fit into the organization schema and what potential opportunities lay ahead of them with clarity on timeframe.

43% of people leave their jobs due to lack of career advancement opportunities

Nothing is more irritating to see wrong people climbing the ladder of promotion or subpar performance being tolerated under the veil of company culture.

High performers want to be supervised by smart managers who can coach them for future roles.

3) Too many rules and hierarchy drive me crazy

Best performers are attracted to knowledge and expertise rather than weight of titles and seniority.

If they feel too many top-down barriers in the path of idea contribution and decision-making, they recoil and search for more progressive and flat-structured organizations.

Best performers are attracted to expertise

Similarly, if the rules are stupidly shortsighted with overzealous focus on attendance, leaves, reporting time, office wear etc. or have a reprimanding touch with impact on pay, resigning from work will be an option chosen by many.

4) Management is lazy with rewards and recognition

Good employees are self-motivated and self-driven.

Agreed. But taking their need to be appreciated for granted is a grave mistake. They require it as much as any other average performer.

Bosses and management need to really care about employee accomplishments and make it known through formal and informal gestures to keep the spirits high and rolling.

Management need to really care about employee accomplishments

Since money is not the only mainstay for this employee segment, personalization of reward is extremely important.

Some might value paid time off to pursue their interests, others might want flexi-work schedule or nomination for professional courses.

5) I don’t feel charged up working here

Good performers have a mutual trait. They like challenges.

If the work is too mundane and doesn’t allow using their capabilities to the max, they zone out and start feeling wasted.

Also, if there is a gap between the role explained during interview and the actual work, things get uncomfortable for the employee.

If the work doesn’t allow using their capabilities, they start feeling wasted

Environment and culture are equally critical.

High performers get discouraged in an environment where power plays and politics run the show and cloud meritorious work.

Relationships with co-workers and bosses also matter. If this networking and sharing becomes a bumpy ride, they cut themselves loose to latch on some other brand and team.

By building the super successful Virgin Group, Richard Branson cannot be wrong about people advice that sums up the essentials of employee retention –

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”


Show your employees that you care with super efficient leave management software that saves their time and effort by all means. Get started by visiting for more info!


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Mitalee Chhatre, a true professional with over 5 years of corporate experience in Human Resources and Health Sector. Contributor on CakeHR where tracks the newest trends and practices of the work-life world.

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Bonus Stuff 🖖

If you have lost a few top performers to a competitor, exit interviews can help you to learn why this is happening.

Or maybe you had to let go of a few people you were sure would be your next superstars.

In this article, we’ll tell you how exit interviews can help you improve the way you hire and who you hire.

exit interview questions
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Written By

Mitalee Chhatre

Mitalee, a true professional with over 5 years of corporate experience in Human Resources and Health Sector. Contributor on CakeHR where tracks the newest trends and practices of the work-life world.