Blog Company Culture Why Employees Leave Companies

In 2018 we published an article that discussed why employees leave companies, reviewing and comparing turnover rates and the most common reasons staff cited when interviewed upon exit, as the reason for moving on.


Why Employees Leave

Back then the 5 main reasons for staff leaving were reported as:


  • Not the right culture fit – employees felt that their personality or work style did not mesh with that of the business or their co-workers or that the company did not align with their personal values.


  • Unhealthy working environment –some businesses were deemed to be guilty of not providing a work environment which meets regulatory standards.


  • Below-average compensation – Employees felt (whether rightly or wrongly) that they were not being compensated enough for their role.


  • Lack of progression and opportunity – Some employees felt that they were not being given the opportunities to progress that they deserved. This may have been down to the employee themselves, but also to poor people management and a lack of structure to support progression and development.


  • Poor management – having the wrong person in charge of a team can always lead to poor culture and poor productivity.


In the last 12-18 months, according to new research published by the Chamber of Commerce, there has been an increase in the number of people leaving their jobs, especially within small businesses.

Gif of a man saying he quits


In 2019, 42.1 million people left their job at a small business, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with the pandemic, employment numbers have only declined.


In this article, there are seven commons reasons listed, for why employees leave companies, which include:


  1. The pandemic resulted in layoffs
  2. More people retired during the pandemic
  3. Women left their jobs to care for and educate children
  4. Higher-taxes are pushing people to move
  5. Employees leave in search of a more flexible schedule
  6. Bosses are often behind a decision to leave
  7. Employees are apt to leave without career advancement


The article explores the motivations behind each of these reasons, but I wanted to highlight the one noticeable absence from this latest list. That of Cultural misalignment.


Cultural Misalignment

So much research has been done in regards to Talent Attraction, by the likes of Deloitte and Gartner over the last few years, and given that anyone leaving a company, for whatever reason, is also looking for a set of criteria in a new position. In that respect Culture has been a prevalent item at the top of the list, in every report that I have read.


Providing a genuine caring culture, with company wellness and wellbeing  schemes, mental health support, etc is certainly high on the agenda for millennials.


We have also noted a strong desire by the younger generations to work for ethical and environmentally sensitive organisations that align with their own beliefs.


Both articles provide interesting insights and the latest Chambers article paints a bleak picture in many respects, especially around the impact of the pandemic.


That said, it still acts as a reality check to all SME business owners and Talent Managers of why people and talent look to leave your organisation.


Want to create a good company culture?

Luckily, there are many ways you can start improving your company culture today, and attract and retain talented employees. Simply watch our webinar on this topic to find out how you can do this.

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Mark Stephens

June 16, 2021

Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).

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