Why Good Employees Leave: 7 Things That Hurt Your Employee Retention

Startups go through growing pains as they develop. And they are always developing. It can hurt to raise a business from the ground up – in more ways than founders usually expect.

After all the sweat and tears they put into a business, there is a stage when founders get to breathe a bit. There will always come a point when the business feels like it finally found its footing. But, it’s also common for companies to face another crisis after that period.

It’s when people start leaving. And that’s when building the business really starts to hurt.

Knowing why good employees leave during this vital stage of a company’s development helps alleviate the pain associated with seeing people go. The reasons can have everything to do with a business’s leaders, or it may be completely out of their control.

Keep reading to learn why good employees leave, and what you may be able to do about it.

1. They Need to Care for Their Family at Home

At a good company, employees don’t see one another as just coworkers. Instead, the founders foster a workplace culture where people respect and understand each other. As a family, employees should see each other’s value in the company. Everyone should understand each other’s contribution to the company.

Yet, as much as founders can try, they cannot compete against actual families. It’s the right call to try and make the workplace a more meaningful environment than just an office. But at the end of the day, things can happen to people’s actual families that they need to address.

People have children, and the time spent working may be better spent raising them. Spouses may move across the country, and employees may move with them to keep the family together. There is an endless list of things that can happen to a family which may warrant an employee leaving.

And employers are usually powerless to anything about them. Unfortunately, in these cases, the best choice may be to let them leave and to tell them they are always welcome to return.

2. When Bad Bosses Aren’t Managed

If someone truly loves their work and the company they work for, they will tolerate a bad boss. Instead, people will use the avenues available to them to deal with a manager they’re having issues with.

However, they may leave a company if those avenues are unavailable. People don’t leave bad bosses by leaving their jobs. They leave bad bosses by working with the company to find a solution that works. If there isn’t a way to work with the company, such as if there isn’t a reporting system, then they may leave it.

They may also leave if their requests for a solution to the problem go unheard. Start-ups need to work immediately with employees and their managers if issues arise. Neglecting it is basically neglecting the company, and they will leave as a result.

3. They See Others Leaving and Wonder Why Good Employees Leave

A loss of faith can kill start-up companies. Employees need to see that the company is going somewhere good and that they will share in the fruits of their labor.

Newer employees also look to veteran employees for guidance. And if veteran employees leave, newer ones will follow suit. Even if they aren’t absolutely sure why they should leave, most people will follow veteran employees if they think it’s time to go.

That means diminishing retention rates are exponential. The more people leave, the more they will leave in the future, and the harder it gets to stop them. The best way to avoid this situation is to get them to stay in the first place.

4. Employees May Not Share Founders Passions

Everyone knows that you’re passionate about your work. How could you not be if you’re building a business?

But that doesn’t mean employees share that same vigor. Sometimes, people just see their work as work. And when people don’t share the grand outlook founders may have, they become intimidated. It’s tough working with people when you don’t share their perspective.

In fact, if employees are naturally less engaged, they are more likely to quit. Especially if their bosses are the exact opposite.

Granted, you should be at least a little passionate. You’re a leader, after all. But don’t go overboard with it. It’s a thin line between a visionary and a zealot.

5. Their Work Just Doesn’t Seem Meaningful

At tech companies, it’s easier than you think for employees to lose faith in their work. Staring at screens all day, at the same lines of code, can make a person forget why they’re working. It can make them lose sight of the bigger picture.

It can help to avoid this if you find a way to remind people about the value of their work. A daily newsletter showing what work has been completed, and what work needs to be done, is a good start. But managers should try to find new ways to remind people that the work they do is important.

6. They May Be Rethinking Their Career Choice

Sometimes, people have a weird idea of what a career in tech looks like. They think they will change the world with just a few weeks of programming and building and get rich in the process.

They may not be ready for the grim reality of hours spent agonizing over a single function. Or of grueling hours in the office and hours beyond the classic nine to five. So they rethink if the industry for them.

The best way to work with employees like this is to address their concerns directly. Address scheduling issues, or issues of any kind immediately. Adjust their workloads if they need it. Figure out what they imagined work to be like, and try your best to match it.

7. Another Offer May Have Come Along

Finally, some employees just see work as a way to make money. Some people just don’t connect with their companies no matter how hard founders and managers may try. And that’s a perfectly valid perspective to have.

Offers from rival companies may work on these kinds of employees. It’s easy to poach them at a high enough price. For these kinds of employees, all you need to do is offer a counteroffer. And in these kinds of negotiations, you have the home-field advantage. Since you know them better than rival companies, you know what they will stay for. Whether it’s cash or job security they’re after, you can offer it.

Employees Come and Go – It’s How Companies Grow

At the end of the day though, employees come and go. Throughout their life, companies can go through thousands of employees. And that’s just a part of any business’s natural development.

It can be a good sign to lose a few good employees. It can mean that your company is getting noticed by others, and all your hard work is being recognized. And even though it feels bad to see them go, at least now you know why good employees leave.

But if you’re still worried about good employees leaving, don’t hesitate to connect with me. New companies are always tough to raise, so it can help to have some guidance.