Top five reasons why good employees leave their jobs

There are many different cultures around the world and they are closely related to the work ethics and the employer-employee relations.

A while back I wrote an article on Interviewing (how to gather a team of great employees). But gathering a great team is not enough – the team has to be maintained, developed and kept together.

Today I will write about the five greatest turnoffs from the employee’s point of view, i.e. why do employees leave their jobs.


As I mentioned earlier, the habits are closely dependent on the surrounding environment and on the culture of the country. For example, it is quite well known that in Sweden people are less prone to leave their jobs and to look for other opportunities compared to south-European countries. Recent surveys show that some 30% of the employees in Sweden were unhappy with their jobs, but even then people do not tend to look for other job. There was even a case where a person was treated really poorly by their colleagues and did not leave the company for 10 years. (Job security aside – but you must agree with me that there is no reason to be treated poorly for 10 years without doing anything about it.)

Anyhow, regardless of the cultural differences, I think that the following 5 reasons are quite standard and adequate in most – if not all – cultures. The points below are not sorted in a particular order, and certain aspects of the employment are omitted – for example: being underpaid, not receiving help with study materials etc. I know that there are a lot of underpaid and unfairly treated professionals out there, but at the end it is all about moving foreward.

If a company does not want to move forward by improving the environment for their employees, then it gets harder to keep the employees anyway. So here is the list:


  1. Bureaucracy – in my years of experience I have noticed that only bureaucrats like bureaucracy; IT professionals do not like it. Employees generally do not like to repeat the same information to several bosses or managers, and do not like to be talked to by several managers about the same thing, either. The simple reason is, that sooner or later the situation turns into that famous “red stapler” scene from “Office Space”.
  2. Poor / flawed communication manners – a manager / company should not wait for their employees to “send signals”; even worse – a compnay should not “capture” signals from the employees. The best way is to have one-on-one meetings with the employees occasionally and talk to them. The best way to do it is to invite an employee to lunch from time to time and to talk to them in a friendly unengaging atmosphere. Having bulk-meetings will never show accurate readings due to the very nature of the human being: people behave differently socially and alone.
  3. Suppressing creativity – never tell your employees that they should not take initiative or that they should not express their tallent in any way. Mistrusting the professional urges and the pure intentions of the employees will only put the company in a very negative light which eventually will eat up and weaken all links.
  4. Taking too much of the personal time of employees – it is a proven fact that it is not healthy (and actually almost impossible) for a human being to concentrate and be involved in work related activities for 8 hours without any break. If an employer / manager takes too much of the employees’ attention, or if they are deprived of clean and quiet private moments during the work day, then the employees get quite sour and unproductive.
  5. Not following up on the employees’ professional improvement – a company benefits greatly from the employees’ professional improvement, but the more advanced the employees get professionally, the harder it is to keep them around. It is true – there is always some other company that pays better, or has extra vacation days or some other benefits that attract employees. Keeping employees restricted and averagely improving should not be used as a way to retain employees. Instead, giving feedback and making employees feel special is the best way to keep them around.

Finally, keep in mind that the employees’ productivity is proportional to what their perception of the importance of their job is. This is the top factor which defines productivity long term. Money, perks and gadgets come after that…






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