10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You, and How to Stop Employee Turnover


The days of employee longevity are over, and employee turnover is at an all time high. Gone are the days of working 40 years at one company, and retiring with a gold watch. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, research shows, the average employee today will have twelve jobs during their working lifetime.

The Scary Reality of Employee Turnover

Even while sitting at their desks in your business today, your most valuable employees are on the lookout for new jobs and new opportunities. That number is as high as 51%. Think about this for a second:  Can you honestly say why employees stay with your company? If not, you need to spend some time figuring that out before you lose your best people. Because, if ignored, they will leave you.  It’s only a matter of time.

Startling Statistics from Gallup

In his article Talent Walks: Why Your Best Employees are Leaving, Ben Wigert shares the following: In our recent work with organizations across various industries, we discovered something really interesting and somewhat unsettling: Highly talented employees who are not engaged were among those who had the highest turnover in each organization — on par with low talent, disengaged employees.

Another way to say it? When your best employees are not engaged, they are as likely to leave your organization as your employees who tend to have performance issues and are unhappy.

Here’s why, there are dozens, even hundreds of reasons why good employees leave their jobs. Research on employee turnover shows reasons that outnumber the sand on the shore. Here are some of our top picks from human resources and employee engagement thought leaders on what might be causing your employee retention problems.

Here are the 10 reasons

1. Company Culture
2. Feeling Overworked
3. Lack of Vision
4. Too little coaching & Feedback
5. Lack of Recognition
6. They’re bored
7. Micromanagement
8. Favoritism
9. Too Much (or Too Little) Work
10. No Opportunities for Advancement 

The 80/20 Rule

The rewards of keeping your most-talented team members are obvious. These employees are constantly innovating, setting, and then reaching new goals. These driving forces enhance the company’s bottom line. These “Top Guns” are very rare, and if you have them you need to do what you can to keep them. We’ve all heard of the “80-20 Rule”.

The 20%

That means the top 20% of your employees are the driving force in your company. These are also your future company leaders. They’re the ones you really depend on to reach the company goals each year. Without them, your company, and your career, end up on the scrap heap of business failures.

The 80%

What about the remaining 80% of your employees? They are very easy to replace because they are the ones who show up, do just enough to get by, and then go home. Your goal is to convert as many of these grunts, as possible, into the top 20%. Some can make the jump with proper leadership and motivation. If not, gradually replace them all with winners. When that happens, you will reach heights in your career you would never have imagined.

Keeping your top employees

When asked, executives in virtually every business field attest to possessing an employee retention program, but are they really necessary? Does recognition really impact your career success? The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.
  • 40% don’t respect the person they report to.
  • 50% say they have different values than their employer.
  • 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.
  • 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.

What causes employee turnover?

As the old adage goes, “Employees don’t quit working for companies.  They quit working for their leaders”. Ask yourself, “Am I someone who deserves the loyalty and commitment of my employees?” To succeed in keeping them… you had better have a solid, honest answer.

Why are they leaving?

Do you know the number one reason why you have employee turnover? You failed to recognize their contribution. Survey after survey proves this, and it’s the same across all generations. Bottom Line: Top talent is motivated by meeting and exceeding goals! Naturally, they want the praise that should go with it. Remember, effective leaders don’t just take credit. More importantly, they give it. Legendary Alabama Football Coach, Bear Bryant said, “If we win, it’s because my players executed well. If we lose, it’s my fault”.

This one may be on you!

Ultimately, as the manager and leader, if you lose your best people it’s your fault. Look for ways to showcase your top people, and show them the love. They’ll know you genuinely appreciate their contribution to your success, and to the success of the company. But, remember, they work for you! You are the company to them. They will stay because of you, or leave, because of you.

The results are in

  • Unleash their passions
  • Challenge their intellect
  • Engage their creativity

Top employees aren’t satisfied with the mundane – they want to make a difference, be the catalyst for change, and the agent that gets it done. In short, they want one thing – opportunity and the leadership to back it up. So keep your word. Give them opportunities to succeed. And REWARD THEM when they are successful. Is top talent easy to keep? Not a chance! But that is what makes them, and YOU, the best!

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