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Why Am I Losing Key Employees?

by Michelle Fleckner / September 13, 2017

The 5 Top Culprits You Must Address

Few things are as costly and unsettling to a workplace as good people walking out the door. Attrition has always proved expensive for companies, but in many industries the cost of losing key employees and employee turnover is calling for desperate measures. From electronic surveillance to social media analysis, managers are trying to stop high risk workers from leaving.

According to HR statistics,

  • One in three employers are worried that voluntary exits will rise.
  • Companies with employee engagement programs attain 26% greater increase in annual company revenue, compared to those who do not have such programs.
  • While 90% of executives understand employee engagement, fewer than 50% understand how to address this issue.
  • Fewer than half (49%) of employees would recommend their employer to a friend.
  • 69% of employees would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.
  • 41% of Baby Boomers would stay with an employer at least five years before looking for a new job. Only 13% of Millennials concurred.

What is it that compels employees to quit their jobs? The following are the top five reasons behind employees being dissatisfied with their current workplace. 

1. Employee Burnout

Overworking talented workers in order to generate greater profits is not only counter- productive, it creates burnout and resentment.  In fact, 1 in 2 employees leave their job to escape a demanding manager.

According to research from Stanford, productivity per hour drops sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours. After 55 hours, the amount of productivity drops so low that it becomes negligible. There isn't any quality work being done any more. Employees are willing to take on a larger workload as long as it doesn't come across as punitive. Giving a promotion, raising the salary, or changing the employee's job title are ways of rewarding and positively reinforcing workers when increasing their amount of work.

2. Lack of Recognition

A recent poll showed that 72% of employees with socially encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales, compared to 48% of employees whose employers aren't socially encouraging. Employees want to work for a company where they feel positive, healthy and nourished. Appreciating workers boosts team morale, increases productivity, and strengthens company loyalty. 

Take the example of American Express. The bank provides five months of paid leave for both mothers and fathers. In addition, birthing mothers can also request paid medical leave for another six to eight weeks. The bank also offers a 24 hour lactation consultant, and has breast milk shipped home for free for mothers traveling on company business. 

3. Falling Short on Empathy

Balancing professionalism and being human is vital for employee retention. Only 26% of employees agree "my employer listens and responds well to me." While staying on top of company goals is important for workplace focus, demonstrating empathy for employees' personal life challenges and stressors goes a long way in making them feeling cared for. Workers are more loyal to a company where they feel valuable as opposed to where they are treated like a robotic production unit.

Starbucks is an example of a company that takes good care of its employees. With the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, employees do not have to worry about missing out on higher education. Collaborating with Arizona State University (ASU), Starbucks offers its workers full tuition reimbursement for four-year bachelor degree programs. This year, they expanded this service with the Pathway to Admission Program. Now employees can fill gaps in their academic history by completing up to 10 freshmen courses, as many times as they want — tuition-free. 

4. Stagnant Skill Devolpment

Tasks that are mundane, simple and repetitive can be mind numbing. 64% of Millennials would rather make $40K a year at a job they love, than $100K a year at a job they find boring. Earnest employees like to be challenged with innovative projects, that test their intellect and stimulate them creatively. A good management team always tries to engage the minds of such workers, so that they don't become bored, frustrated or complacent. 

In the words of Brian Kropp, head of HR at CEB, a Washington- based best-practice insight and technology company,

“We’ve learned that what really affects people is their sense of how they’re doing compared with other people in their peer group, or with where they thought they would be at a certain point in life."

5. Scarcity of Diversity

A recent memo criticized Google's diversity programs and ratio of women in technology. According to data collected, men hold 75% of company leadership roles, with white people holding 68% of those roles. A mere 2% of Google's employees are black, 4% are Hispanic, and 35% are Asian. 

67% of job seekers consider a diverse workforce a major factor when evaluating company ranking and job offers. Diverse workplaces welcome employees with different political beliefs, faiths, ethnic background, sexual orientation, geographic location, and other such characteristics. By embracing diversity, management demonstrates that it values different viewpoints, cultural and gender sensitivity, as well as global outreach. This boosts the reputation of the company, which leads to increased profitability and market value, as well as opportunities for workers.

If your business is facing the same problems with attracting top talent and losing the good employees you do have, view the recording of our webinar "Attracting and Engaging Talent: A Strategy To Win." Platinum Group's Human Capital Management and Business Development Webinar Series features local and statewide professional experts offering valuable insight into successful business practices. 


Platinum Group is a full service human capital management (HCM) resource that allows businesses to manage their payroll, benefits compliance, track time and attendance and other various human resources functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and eliminates redundancies with the platform, iSolved. For more information about Platinum Group or to schedule a demo of iSolved please visit our website

Platinum Group is headquartered in Asheville, NC with locations in Charlotte, NC; Greensboro, NC; and Raleigh, NC.

Tags: Payroll & Human Resources Hiring Process Employee Leadership Employee Turnover Company Culture

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Michelle Fleckner

Michelle Fleckner

Michelle joined the team in 2017 as VP of HCM Solutions. Her interest is in helping companies identify areas where streamlining and automating would benefit their HR & Payroll departments. Her strengths are organization planning, revenue generation, customer retention & business process automation.