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Why Employees Leave in Waves (And How to Stop Them)

Why Employees Leave in Waves

My best executive coaching clients ask me why employees leave in waves and how to stop them.

On the one hand, the equation is pretty simple: Employees like to be at a company where they feel important and valued. People want to feel like they are able to use their talents and their time effectively.They reallywant to make an impact; and they like to feel like that effort is noticed and appreciated.

On the other hand… well, maybe it’s not so simple at all! Valuing employees is about more than just salary and benefits. It also means providing an environment that fosters good, productive work. It’s important to facilitate mutual respect and a true team dynamic. Also offering clear trajectories for professional development and career advancement—and oh yeah: You need to do all of this on a pretty tight HR budget.

Why Good Employees Quit

So where can you possibly begin? How do you start the process of showing employees that they matter to you, and of keeping the best ones from jumping ship en masse?

Start with this realization. Employees do not quit the job. They quit the boss. And if you have a lot of turnover, a lot of employees leaving in a wave, you can rest assured that the problem isn’t them—it’s you.

With that word of tough love out of the way, here are some possible reasons why all your good employees leave and quit on you—and some implications about how to keep them on board.

6 Reasons Why People Quit On You!

You’re burdening your best people with too many responsibilities. I recently met an accountant who was obviously supremely gifted, exceptionally good at her job; as a corporate bookkeeper, she was invaluable. When the company’s HR manager quit, this amazing accountant was also given HR responsibilities, even though she didn’t want them, didn’t have any background in that field, and frankly didn’t have time.

So now, she’s not able to devote herself to accounting excellence, and she is deeply unhappy in her work. Do you see the problem? When you have a excellent employee, make sure you give that employee the freedom to do what he or she does best, rather than overloading the duties.

You’re a micromanager. Many executives and managers are perfectionists by nature. That’s great. But maybe the skill you need to work on is trusting people. In theory, you hired your employees for a reason—because you saw something in them. So let them do their work without peering over their shoulder, or else you risk seeing them go somewhere their talents will be better appreciated.

You’re not supportive. This is almost the opposite of the above. Employees don’t want to be micromanaged.They want to know you’re around to answer questions or provide direction as needed. Never in the office? Your employees will go somewhere where they think they’ll find a more personal and devoted support system.

You are clueless about team dynamics. Quick question: What are the biggest sources of conflict on your team? Who are the employees most and least likely to collaborate together? If you don’t know these things then you’re probably not really building a good team or using individual talents to their full potential. Don’t think your employees won’t notice that.

You run inefficient, horrible meetings. Their time is important and they don’t want their time wasted.

You don’t communicate your vision. Employees want to feel like they have a role in something bigger—but if you’re oriented on tasks and not the big picture, your employees will just feel like pawns in your own secret game.

Reasons why employees leave the workforce in our new world.

It is important to understand that employees leave for a variety of reasons, and it is not always about money. In fact, studies have shown that money is not the primary motivator for most employees. Employees value a positive work environment, opportunities for growth and development, work-life balance, and recognition for their contributions.

One reason good employees quit is that they do not feel valued or appreciated. Employees want to feel that their work is important and that they are making a meaningful contribution to the organization. Companies can prevent this by showing appreciation for their employees’ hard work and accomplishments. Simple gestures like saying thank you, giving feedback, and providing opportunities for growth and development can go a long way in making employees feel valued.

Work Life Balance and Retention

Another reason good employees quit is that they do not have a good work-life balance. Employees want to have time for their families and personal pursuits. If they don’t they feel overworked and stressed. Companies can prevent this by promoting work-life balance and providing flexible work arrangements. This can include offering remote work options, flexible schedules, and paid time off.

Lastly, good employees quit because they do not see a future for themselves in the organization. Employees want to know that they have opportunities for growth and advancement within the company. Companies can prevent this by providing clear career paths and opportunities for employees to learn new skills and responsibilities. This can include offering training and development programs, mentorship, and promoting from within.

Dr. Rick Goodman is a renowned keynote speaker, author, and leadership expert who has helped thousands of individuals and organizations to achieve success. Named #9 by The Top 30 Global Guru’s research organization for 2023 in Leadership for the third year in a row..

Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Purple Heart Homes, Heineken, Quest Diagnostics, and Vizient Inc.

For more information on Rick’s speaking programs, audio programs, and learning programs, contact (888) 267-6098 or, or visit

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