4 Reasons Your Best Employees May Be Leaving

When good employees leave, bad things happen.

Staff productivity decreases, workloads increase, and morale suffers. 

Add the costs of recruitment, training, onboarding, and other things, and the final number will be painfully high. Some studies put the cost of replacing one employee at $16,000, but the true cost is really hard to estimate.

If the employee who left were really good, the impact could be a bit hard to recover from. To prevent well-performing people from leaving and causing a crisis, employers should be able to identify the most common reasons they make this choice.

Below, you’ll find the reasons why good employees leave to know how to prevent them from doing so. 

1. They Feel Overworked

Being overworked is something that many employees experience on a daily basis. A recent study involving over 2,800 people found that the higher the number of weekly hours in the workplace was, the stronger was the feeling of being overworked.


Credit: Sleep Junkie

In many cases, this is the reason why good employees decide to end their cooperation with their employers. The reasons are simple:

  • They feel tired
  • They feel professional burnout
  • They’re missing out on time with loved ones

Collecting feedback from employees about their work-life balance and overall job satisfaction is important for preventing overload. 

One way to collect feedback is through online surveys and forms. This will allow you to understand what your employees like about the company and what is to improve.

2. They Feel Disengaged

Here are the facts. 

Forbes says that about 21 percent of employees feel highly engaged at work. This translates into millions of dollars of losses for employers. For example, every single disengaged employee with an average annual salary of $47,000 costs a business of almost $16,000 per year. 

So what exactly motivates a disengaged and bored employee to go to work every day? Their main goal is to get the paycheck, so they keep doing just enough to keep their job. As a result, their managers have no immediate reason to let them go. 

But what do good employees become disengaged in the first place? Here are three reasons:

  • a lack of opportunities to go above their daily tasks
  • a lack of accountability
  • a lack of personal development programs. 

Even one of these reasons is enough to make a highly productive employee want to go. 

So What Can You Do to Increase Employee Engagement?

“Start with creating an employee engagement survey to access the current level of engagement in the company,” says Darren Omoto, an HR manager. “Invest in creating personalized development programs for employees which would have them perform tasks they want to do.” 

Be careful with the survey, though, as many employees can think that their answers could be used against them. This ultimate guide to employee engagement surveys with practical tips could help to capture the most accurate feedback from your staff. 

3. A Lack of Willingness to Address Issues from Managers

Many employees have experienced this at some point in their careers. An issue like a conflict occurs in the workplace, causing all kinds of uncomfortable things for everyone. Instead of trying to resolve the issue, the manager chooses to ignore it, perhaps hoping that it would go away on its own.

This almost never happens. What could happen, though, is former employees going online and writing company reviews with testimonials about company culture and managers. 

Moreover, a simple disagreement can turn into something much, much worse if it goes unaddressed for weeks or, in some cases, even days. 

As a result, the morale and productivity of employees can suffer greatly, up to the point where many start to think about leaving the organization. In many cases, some of the best employees are among these people.

Solving the problem of passive leaders is the prerogative of the top management. Establishing clear guidelines for resolving workplace issues and having regular one-on-one meetings with employees about possible issues are a must.

Keeping a close watch for workplace issues this way can help to uncover the issues that employees aren’t comfortable speaking about. For example, 40 percent of employees experiencing bullying never report it, so HR can be the frontline defense of the company against unresolved issues. 

4. A Lack of Recognition and Appreciation

For good companies, the National Employee Appreciation Day isn’t the only day when companies should express their gratitude. 

Here’s how 8 different companies celebrate Employee Appreciation Day to inspire you. 

Unfortunately, a shocking number of companies don’t follow suit. That’s why many employees, including best-performing ones, think of jumping the ship much earlier than usual.

The lack of appreciation is a pretty serious workplace problem and can come in many forms:

  • Being underpaid despite having an impressive skill and performing well
  • Not listening to their objective feedback and ideas 
  • Not giving feedback that helps them to develop professionally
  • Breaking promises (vacation, perks, opportunities to work on challenging projects, etc.)
  • Not recognizing employees for their accomplishments and ideas
  • Ignoring reasonable workplace change suggestions 
  • Not being fair with bonuses.

Obviously, the role of leaders is critical here. They need to foster a healthy and employee-focused workplace environment by making sure that not one of the above-mentioned mistakes happens. 

That’s when leadership training comes in. Companies need to invest in teaching their leaders how to improve employee recognition and appreciation. 

Employee recognition should be made a part of your company culture, too. A simple and effective way to show your appreciation to employees is sending out sweet emails with congratulations on someone’s birthday, promotion and other notable events. You may consider  investing in services that create creative templates for emails that allow you to  only spend a minute to type a person’s name and add some personalization.

Hold on to Your Best Talent

As an HR professional, you know very well that finding and retaining talent is nothing but easy. Losing good employees is a really bad sign, especially after you fought so hard to recruit them. For companies, the fact of losing a well-performing employee is a legit reason to launch an investigation into workplace practices to find if some of these four mistakes were made.

A better way to prevent good employees from leaving is avoiding these mistakes. Hopefully, you’ll be able to achieve this goal and increase the average employee tenure for as long as possible. 


Daniela McVicker is a career coach and an editor at Top Writers Review. She’s also a business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths.