At exit interviews, employees often give ‘objective’ reasons for leaving the company - reasons that are safe and acceptable to discuss with their boss. Unfortunately, that means that we often don’t find out their real reasons for leaving the company.
An employee on their way out is unlikely to report that they feel underappreciated, or humiliated, or that too much was expected of them. They won’t tell you about the stress of a results-driven environment or the lack of a reward - or even a simple thank-you - for achieving those results.
It’s important to be aware that people generally do not like change. If employee turnover is high, something isn’t working in the organisation.
It’s also important that people often leave a company to ‘grab an opportunity’. In companies that function well, when an employee gets a good job offer, the first thing they’ll do is try to use that offer to negotiate a higher salary. When something’s just not working, however, the salesperson will just give their notice.
When discussing the most common reasons why employees leave, managers often point to issues like overly demanding salespeople, a broken labour market, and increasing pressure to raise salaries. Unfortunately, they rarely reflect on their own role.
A higher salary? Yes but...
The first truth to be aware of is that most employees don’t leave because of money. Research from the Saratoga Institute indicates that only 12% of employee departures are due to financial reasons.
Of course, if a company pays below the market rate or expects too much from their employees, it won’t be able to recruit the best employees available on the market. Even if their salary was just average, a salesperson leaving most often means that something other than just finances had an impact on their decision.
It’s worth remembering that most often, people don’t quit their jobs, but quit their bosses.