The Top 5 Reasons Employees Leave a Company -- And How to Get Them to Stay

By Kristen Ripmaster on March 19, 2019

We’ve all heard the saying, “Employees don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.” But the truth is, the issue isn’t that simple. There are many reasons why employees are compelled to leave a job, and a manager isn’t always to blame. So what are some of the most common reasons that employees leave a company, and what can managers do to prevent turnover?

Employees Leave Companies Because…

1. Life happens. Even when an employee loves their job and feels appreciated and challenged by their employer, sometimes things come up that necessitate a job change. For example, they might need to move closer to aging parents, their partner may be transferred to another office, or they might need a change in climate for a child prone to pneumonia.

How to Prevent It: You can’t prevent issues from arising that are outside either the employee or employer’s control. There are ways you might be able to work around an employee leaving, however. Can they transfer to another branch? Are they willing to travel, or can you allow them to work from home? For a valued employee, it might be worth thinking outside the box to meet their needs and keep them on board.

2. Their managers are out of touch. While it’s not always a manager’s fault, sometimes an employee’s issue is with the company’s leaders. That doesn’t always mean there’s a toxic relationship, of course. It could just mean that the employee isn’t getting the type of encouragement and support they need from a manager.

How to Prevent It: Managers are responsible for understanding what employees need to feel valued and be successful within your company -- and that is going to be different for each individual person. Make sure you’re touching base and getting to know each person. Find out what their needs are, whether it’s monetary recognition, public acknowledgement of good work, or verbal praise, and make sure you’re meeting those needs on a regular basis. Ask them specific questions: What type of positions are they interested in long term? What growth opportunities are appealing to them? Do they trust the company? How are their relationships with their teammates and managers? What makes them feel valued? How is their work-life balance? Communication is key! In the bigger picture, you want to make sure that managers are creating a healthy top-down culture and directly representing the company’s leaders.

3. They’re not being challenged. Sometimes, solid employees get overlooked during meetings and reviews. If they’re performing well and their talents are being utilized, it’s easy to think they’re happy. However, most top performers want opportunities to learn and grow, and if they’re not getting those opportunities, they’ll start to look elsewhere.

How to Prevent It: Do you know what your employees value in their careers? Do you know the direction they want their careers to be moving, and do you have a plan in place to get them there? You should be communicating frequently with your employees about their career growth plans and desires, and it’s crucial to make sure they know that you see a future for them at your company. Work with them to come up with a plan to help them prosper with you -- so they don’t go looking somewhere else.

4. There’s been a change in management Major changes within a company, including management turnover, can have an impact on an employee’s morale. If they had a positive relationship and a concrete growth plan in place with one manager, they might be nervous that a new manager will disrupt their plans. It can also create a feeling of instability on a team, leading employees to seek a new environment.

How to Prevent It: The most important thing is to keep your employees in the loop on any major company changes. Make sure they know the reasons for the changes and that they know their success is still your priority. Make the effort to get the new manager off on the right foot so the team operates as a well-oiled machine. If employees feel educated and empowered during cultural shifts, they’re less likely to jump ship.

5. They don’t feel financially stable. We know that money is not the primary motivation for the majority of career changes. However, many construction workers are still feeling a “recession hangover,” which makes them anxious to secure a steady salary and secure employment. If there are any rumors about financial issues within a company, or if the company’s wages don’t match market value, employees are likely to seek a position with a firm that makes them feel financially stable and secure.

How to Prevent It: Again, open communication is critical to preventing this issue. Don’t let rumors swirl; keep your employees informed about the state of the company, and create a culture where they’re free to ask any questions or express any concerns they have, without fear of repercussions. Keep your finger on the pulse of the market and make sure your employees are being paid what they’re worth. Giving a strong employee a raise is a lot less expensive than replacing an A-player!

Your employees are the most important part of your company’s success, so make sure that your company is contributing to their success as well. Being aware of these common issues can help you prevent unnecessary turnover and increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Your employees -- and your bottom line -- will thank you!

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Kristen Ripmaster

Kristen Ripmaster


Kristen joined Kimmel & Associates in 2017 as an Associate in the electrical division, focusing on the Northeast territory. Prior to joining Kimmel & Associates, Kristen held several leadership roles (including President and COO) at ConstructionJobs, a leading job board for construction companies and professionals.