Blog: Why Happy Employees Leave

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Why Happy Employees Leave

An IBM Smarter Workforce Institute study delves deep into understanding what attracts the best talent, and what makes them stay.
Why Happy Employees Leave

Attraction and Retention of great talent is a perpetual challenge for anyone in the HR domain. While organisations are trying new-age and innovative methods and engagement policies to make employees stay, and in the process really making an attempt to understand what causes them to leave, what makes them stay and how can both be managed. A recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute study, which conducted in-depth research with over 22,000 employees, does just that presents important findings about what exactly drives talent.

The study, released some time back, was based on “the responses of more than 22,000 employees... surveyed in 2016 in 45 countries and territories, in a cross-section of industries, thousands of different organisations and all major job families.” Here are a few important findings of the study, ‘Should I stay or should I go? : Global insights into employees’ decision to leave their jobs’:

Talent Attraction

  • 16% of the respondents were actively looking for a new job, and 46% would consider a better opportunity even if they were not actively looking for a new job.
  • Furthermore, more millennials are looking to change their jobs as compared to Baby Boomers (19% and 8% respectively) and of those who changed jobs because of unsolicited job offers, just 15% were attracted by social media recruitment techniques. 
  • High potentials are more likely than other workers to be attracted to new jobs by opportunities to learn new skills, for more job responsibilities and try something new. 
  • While everyone seems to want to leave their jobs for a one with higher pay, factors like career development, employer brand and flexibility at work vary from generation to generation in their importance. 

Talent Retention

The reasons why people left their last jobs were: 

  • Unhappiness in their work (40%)
  • Personal reasons like spouse relocation child care of health issues (39%)
  • Unhappy with their organisation (20%)
  • Organisational changes that caused uncertainty (18%)
  • 14% of the respondents said that they left their last job because they were unhappy with their managers.
  • Being passed over for a promotion (11%)
  • Co-worker was leaving their job (4%)

Employees with the most positive experiences are thrice as less likely to be looking for a new job, and those who engage with their organisations are five times as less likely to be searching for a new job. 

In order to attract better talent, the authors of the study suggest managing the employer brand, encouraging employee referral programmes and paying attention to job attractors for high potentials. The study also suggests ways to retain them, and some of them have are: listen to employees regularly, use the right assessment to increase person-job fit and person-organisation fit during hiring, and enhancing employee engagement and experience. 

The study is an insightful tool for anyone trying to comprehend the current talent trends, and forming strategies to attract and retain quality talent in today’s world. It debunks some popular myths, like managers and bosses are big factors as to why people move onto new jobs, naming general unhappiness with their work and role as the number one reason for the same. 

By focussing on just what goes on in the mind of quintessential job-seekers, what motives them to change jobs, and what makes employees stay in an organisation, the study becomes an informative guide which quantifies just how much different factors affect these decisions. 

You can view the entire study here.

Topics: Culture, Employee Relations, Employee Engagement

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