5 Reasons Why Good Employees Leave


Movement amongst employees within an organisation is a natural occurrence and impossible to prevent. However, some departures certainly bear an inherently greater impact over others. When considering the types of staff most valuable to retain, what are some of the reasons high performing employees seek to leave and where do they go? The answer often lies with the relatively intangible factors within an organization, its workforce. More often than not, there is a heavy influence of senior management in determining the turnover rate. Below are some of the key reasons why good employees leave.

1. Inhibiting Reasonable Freedom

Talented employees are usually passionate about what they do and creative in their approach. They’re productive, forward thinking and are the type of employees that are most valuable to an organisation. They also possess such a vast capability to think outside the “box”. They often enjoy improving work practices and contributing to positive change within the workplace as well as the feeling of creating impact. 

High performers thrive on new opportunities and being afforded responsibility to pursue their passions within context of the workplace. When these types of employees feel restricted by management, they’ll seek available career opportunities to pursue their passion elsewhere and their invaluable skill set will walk right out the door with them. 

2. Failing to Provide Development Opportunities

It’s an unfortunately common occurrence that managers turn a blind eye on staff training. They may claim their team is not in need or that they’re “too busy” to participate. This is precisely the type of mistake that affects top-performing talent the most.  

Successful managers are good at identifying opportunities for improvement amongst staff, regardless of an individual’s performance. High performers are often the ones that seek out and enjoy receiving feedback the most. They genuinely strive to better themselves via feedback received and improve their performance in the workplace as best they can. After all, these are traits that have made them so successful in the first place.

High performers recognize the benefits of training and understand the impact it can have on their professional identity and career prospects. Failing to provide opportunities for up-skilling often leaves talented staff disengaged and can provoke their need to source fulfillment elsewhere.

3. Goal Setting Beyond the Comfort Zone

Top performers are usually intellectually gifted and require managers willing to push them beyond their comfort zone. They quickly become bored in mundane environments and are individuals who require a capable manager to work with them in setting goals that they’ll have to work hard to achieve. Being continually challenged through revised goals & targets would help to maintain their enthusiasm and interest in their current role & company.

4. Changing Career Goals

Employees who perform well in their workplace often enjoy a new challenge. They dislike the feeling of boredom and stagnation and are often high achievers in their personal life also. For these reasons, they may assume a change in career goals as good reason to search for a new workplace, one they consider more compatible with their revised career goals. At different stages of their personal lives, candidates would place importance on different aspects of a role; salary, work-life balance, travel requirement, management responsibilities. Candidates would steer into new opportunities being presented that fit their needs best. 

5. Is it Management? 

Interestingly, in 2016 The Harvard Business Review published an article revealing results of a related study. Their research concluded “employees leave both good and bad bosses at almost comparable rates.” Despite the conventional belief that people leave managers not companies, this new research challenges that idea. What does this mean for companies? High performing employees that have been managed by strong leaders are more appealing to external employers for this very reason. 

There are plenty of reasons why good employees leave. The best ones will surely seek a workplace that can fill the void. Alternatively, they will find one who can provide a better solution to the problems they experience with their current employment 

Turning reasons for departure into strategies for retaining top talent is the easiest sure-fire way to address your talent management strategy. Good employees will be presented with a lot of choice when it comes to their choices of employment. The trick, as a manager, is to make them want to stay.


Anchal Murawala is a Senior Associate at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data sectors.

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent – 5 Proven Steps to Secure your Ideal Fintech or Data Role”. Alternatively, you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on info@datasearchconsulting.com for a more detailed discussion.

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