Employer brand

14 reasons why you’re losing good employees to competitors


When you’re in charge of a business, regardless of size, industry or location, a feeling that you quickly get used to is losing good employees.

Research has shown that 43% of all Millennials in employment plan to leave their current role within 2 years, while only 28% plan to stay past 5 years. With future generations expected to share similar tendencies, the employee turnover trend shows no sign of slowing. 

Of course, it would be naïve for any company to believe that they can achieve a near-100% retention rate; statistics collated by LinkedIn in 2018 suggest that a 10.9% turnover rate is approximately the norm (although this varies from industry to industry and role to role – e.g. the hospitality sector experienced a 90% turnover rate in recent years in response to Brexit). 

And, in many cases, these are the result of reasons not caused by their company itself:

  • A change in their personal life
  • They are looking for a different challenge
  • They received a better offer
  • They feel they’ve achieved all they can in your team

Again, losing talented employees is something that will happen invariably. However, numerous reasons behind top talent quitting come as a direct result of them being unhappy with aspects of their work.

If you are concerned that your company’s turnover is unwantedly high, here are 14 notable causes why you may be turning off top talent from staying with your organisation.

Why companies lose good employees

1. Lack of trust/autonomy 

Few people enjoy being micromanaged or working in a restrictive environment due to management’s lack of faith in them. Top talent will typically thrive in atmospheres where they feel trusted to deliver their work to a high-quality standard. Placing too many oversights and barriers in the way of their autonomy is a dangerous path to a high turnover of staff.

2. You lack a competitive offer

While money isn’t everything to all employees, it will likely be a key factor in their decision to stay or move on from your company. Employees need to know that they’re valued for their hard work, and whether it’s an increase in their salary or other incentives, if you fail to give them compelling reasons to stay, they may have their heads turned by your competition.

3. You don’t have an onboarding strategy

The process of retaining employees to stay starts from day one. If you don’t have an established onboarding strategy or process, it can result in new members of staff feeling disorientated and unwelcomed immediately. First impressions count as much for the hiring company as they do for the person just hired – leaving a bad taste in the mouth from the get-go could leave people thinking about the exit in a couple of months time.

4. They feel underutilised

If your employees don’t feel that their distinct skills and expertise aren’t being put to good use in their current role, they will start to look for a company that will. The moment they feel they are not being utilised effectively is when good employees stop caring, hurting your productivity and increasing the likelihood of high performers leaving your team.

5. They feel underappreciated

If your best talent produces great work, it’s important that you tell them. Employees whose work is hardly (if ever) recognised will feel more disheartened and disillusioned in their role. It will potentially lead them to question why they’re working as hard as they are if they will never receive recognition or reward. By failing to appreciate the great talent available to you, you risk losing them over time.

6. They feel disrespected

Similar to the above reason, your employees don’t want to come to work and feel that they aren’t respected or valued. This extends to their good work being recognised to the overall workplace culture – if their fellow team members are not treating them fairly or kindly, this will motivate them to find somewhere else to work for the sake of their own wellbeing.

7. They are poorly managed

Over a third of UK workers plan to leave their company imminently due to not feeling any kind of inspiration or motivation from their employer. Poor management is a powerful indicator of dysfunctional employee turnover – without clear direction, guidance and encouragement from the top, employees will lack the structure and impetus to perform effectively and progress in their career.

8. There’s little communication

Communication is key to whether you lose good talent or not. Employees will want to feel comfortable bringing issues to their manager or co-workers and receive a fitting response. If that communication is lacking or is practically non-existent, your talent will feel unsupported and that their suggestions aren’t meaningful. When people spend much of their day at work, most would prefer not to spend it in silence.

9. An unhealthy company culture

A poor company culture will quickly turn away your top talent. Whether that is a structure that is too rigid, one that lacks drive and passion, or simply an atmosphere that is overwhelmingly negative and toxic, if an employee doesn’t feel comfortable or welcome in their workplace, they will be encouraged to actively find one that is more suitable. 

10. They don’t connect with your company values

Your employer brand plays an increasingly powerful role whether you retain or lose good employees. A brand that is consistent, authentic and built on strong values will minimise the risk of employees quitting. Conversely, if your workers don’t buy into your goals, missions and principles, they won’t form a connection to your organisation and won’t feel a compulsion to stay when another opportunity comes along.

11. There’s no room for growth or development

One of the core reasons people look at alternate job opportunities is to advance in their career. If your company does not present a clear path for promotion or development, your good, ambitious talent will find chances to take on more responsibility somewhere else. Leaving little room for career progression within your workforce loses engagement, loses motivation, and eventually loses talented employees.

12. They feel overworked

Stress is something that comes in most workplace environments, but an excessive amount can be a strong motivator to leave. If your top employees feel like they are being burdened with too much to do with little support or recognition, work will become incredibly uncomfortable for them. At that point, they might decide to choose their own wellbeing over their employment, and look to find somewhere more conducive to their needs.

13. You don’t consider their work-life balance

Did you know 22% of UK workers have changed company or departments in pursuit of better flexibility? Especially as employees become older and develop responsibilities outside of work, priorities shift towards a better work-life balance. If you lack the flexibility to accommodate their wider needs or operate in an “all work, no play” culture, you will lose top talent looking to avoid burnout.

14. They see other good employees leaving

Finally, witnessing other talented employees leave your company can make people question their own position and happiness in your organisation, often regardless of the reason behind their departure. Losing talented employees can damage the overall culture and atmosphere in your workforce, and cause others in your team to consider their own future. If you already have a high turnover, this can be an even more pressing concern.

What is the cost of losing good employees?

While the answer to this question varies from company to company, a great deal of research has gone into the costs of losing employees. Studies by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predict that it can cost anywhere between 6 and 9 months’ salary of the departing team member to replace their role. 

For example, let’s consider someone earning the average annual salary, estimated to be £27,271. To replace an employee on these wages would cost between £13,600 and £20,500, a significant amount for any organisation to dedicate to recruitment.

Considering that 41% of employers have reported difficulties in filling vacancies over the previous year in CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook Report (Spring 2019), the cost of losing good employees can be even dearer. 

And that is only the immediate financial impact. Losing top talent in your workforce would cause any business to struggle short-term without their expertise, input and familiarity with your company, and longer-term if they bring their skills to support your competition. 

Having too many experienced employees walk away can damage your productivity and overall company culture in a significant way, and require a substantial investment in time and money to train people up to fill the void left by these departures.

How to retain a good employee who wants to leave

Now you have greater clarity over some of the key reasons why good employees leave companies, your next step is to implement techniques and approaches that heighten your ability to retain your top talent and prevent them from moving to your competitors.

Here are a few initiatives you should consider incorporating: 

Regularly check your employees’ wellbeing

Whether this is through frequent employee reviews or discussions with their supervisors, regular communication with your employees helps them realise they are connected and supported at work, and allows you to spot and address any signs of discontent early.

Encourage their desire to learn and grow

For good talent that wants to develop and harness their skills at every opportunity, provide them with the chances to improve both inside and outside of work. And, when they do excel and show signs of progress, recognise it and celebrate it.

Provide a flexible working environment

Flexible working is quickly becoming the norm, and those that don’t adapt to these circumstances risk losing a high turnover of staff. By giving your workforce flexibility, they will likely be more productive and reassured, as well as less likely to suffer burnout.

Work on your employer branding strategy

Your employer branding strategy can play a big factor in not only the way you recruit new talent, but keep your existing team members around. Foster a collective culture behind your company’s values, one that allows your workforce to develop a deep, meaningful connection to your brand and its unique identity.

Train your management teams effectively

As a bad relationship with management is a primary reason why employees choose to leave their company, take time to develop your management team to welcome and support new and existing talent. This minimises the risk of culture clashes and encourages employees that they are being supported.

Demonstrate clear paths to career progression

Finally, with most employees not content to stay in one place or role for their whole lives, you need to illustrate that your organisation can support their ambitions beyond their current responsibilities. For high-performance employees, this will motivate them to climb the ladder in-house rather than seek greener pastures.

Avoid losing good employees with strong employer branding 

Working with Papirfly directly supports your organisation’s ability to retain and recruit top talent. Whether it is empowering team members to take initiative and produce high-quality marketing materials with little training, to help producing effective employer brand assets and communications that project your company values across your global teams, we help you maximise the power of your employer brand.

Discover BAM by Papirfly™ today and unlock your ability to create, educate, manage, store and share your brand like never before.