Top 10 Reasons Good Employees Quit

When an employee leaves a business there can be mixed emotions. When good employees leave, it can hurt. So why is this a common narrative among businesses – with their good talent leaving? And what are the reasons good employees quit?

The process of employing someone takes time. In business, time is money. So it can sometimes be expensive to continually hire new employees. That’s why, when an employee leaves, it can be a chore for the organisation to get a replacement.

The average employee does a good job. Good enough to warrant a letter of recommendation upon departure. If they were anything less than good, we can assume you would have had to unfortunately let them go. So when your average employee leaves, someone still has to replace them.

This can be costly.

Imagine the departure of a highly valuable team member and the unintentional hurt that’s placed on the business. Replacing them can be a struggle. Ensuring the high standard continues can be hard. Hiring the right candidate, even harder.

This problem leads us to ask and answer the question, “what are the reasons good employees quit?” To answer this, we’ve got what we believe to be the top 10 reasons good employees quit. So you know what to do (or not do), when making your next hire.

Top 10 Reasons Good Employees Quit

Photo: Hash Millan, Flickr


People spend one third of their lives either working, getting ready for work or transporting themselves to work. For the amount of time people spend doing work-related activities, they want to at least enjoy what they do.

So when they don’t enjoy work, work becomes a problem. If they’re unchallenged or bored at work, they’re likely to seek other employment. They might be a great and talented employee, yet if they’re unchallenged then prepare to be looking for a replacement.

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On the other side of the coin from being unchallenged lies being overworked. One of the more common reasons good employees quit. It’s somewhat of an oxymoron of sorts. When you have a good employee, you give them more work. Believe me, it’s a trap. Dr. Travis Bradberry summed this up perfectly. Just because they’re good at what they do, doesn’t mean they deserve to be suffocated by work.

He went on to say, that overworked employees’ productivity sharply declines once working more than 50 hours per week. That’s equal to working 10 hours a day for the working Monday to Friday week.

Recognition – feeling undervalued

Not recognising the work and contributions of your employees can be a surefire way in ensuring they seek other employment. It’s easy to reassure someone of a job well done and even easier to give a quick pat on the back.

Especially to those good employees who give it their all, often some reassurance from time to time can be all that’s really needed as a reward. That’s not to say a well thought out and deserved reward isn’t great though.

See our article on rewarding your team via the 7 Awesome Methods for Employee Recognition.

Lack of independence

Being independent can work can be a draw in itself when choosing your next career move. Independence gives the employee confidence in their ability, belief that they’re being trusted and a sense of professional improvement. All great things.

So you don’t want to drive away good, capable and talented employees by micromanaging. Just remember that people want to be managed within the company. Not constantly having someone looking over their shoulder.


A disengaged employee can be dangerous for you as an employer. Something as little as being unmotivated or not utilising their skills. Disengagement can have a business fail. Regardless of the situation, there are remedies. And yes, those remedies do involve you as an employer.

You should be looking to dissect the issue, assessing it and seeing if there is anything you can do to fix it. Aim to reinvigorate and reengage. Perhaps suggest a week off, ask what they want or just give the recognition they deserve. Who knows, that could be all it takes.

Office culture

Office culture can play an important role when determining if a job is right for an employee. For example, an employee may have found their dream role on paper. Whereas in reality, it’s not what they thought it’d be. As for reasons good employees quit, this is important.

This often comes down to the culture of the office or business. A great office culture can be the difference between keeping a great employee and being just another stepping stone in the employee’s work history.

See our article on the Mistakes to Avoid when Building your Company Culture.

To make sure this isn’t the case, make the office culture one in which does a few different things. It attracts the best people for the organisation. And has the kind of office culture that makes those people want to stay, grow and continue being great for your company.

Work/life balance

Unsurprisingly, a healthy work/life balance is what we’d assume most people want. For good reason. Whether it’s to spend time with loved ones, doing what you love or relaxing, people want a life outside of work.

Employers know this. However some still overwork and thus reduce their employee’s work/life balance. Because of this, you can see why some employees would look elsewhere for a role allowing a better working schedule.

Top 10 Reasons Good Employees Quit

Photo: Office Snapshots

Poor office management

It is said that people work for people, not businesses. This is no truer than when it comes to the management of their talents within the organisation. When an employer or business doesn’t care about the worker, especially a good work. Be prepared to go through another hiring cycle to refill the role once they leave.

Poor office management could mean many things. Micromanagement, to too little management. The crux being, poor management skills can make an employee not believe in the company, which is bad for your business. You can also use office management tools for better management.

Hiring and promoting the wrong people

Working hard within your company, only to know you’re working with peers who aren’t likeminded professionals can be difficult. When hiring, the company should not only make sure they fit culturally, but are also a great addition to the team.

It gets worse when the wrong person gets promoted. While the hard working, good employee is getting passed over. If you want to insult your hard working employees, forcing them to look elsewhere for employment. This is a good way to do it.

Few growth opportunities

When taking a new job, people want a few things out of it. They want to learn and develop their skills. Thankfully, this is something you as an employer can control. To ensure your good employees stay with you, give them opportunities to do so.

To do this can be simple. Continue to up-skill your team! Have them go to courses to improve their skills and become more qualified. It’ll be great for them, letting them know you care about them and their development. And it will be great for your company, with continually improving employees.

In Summary

Reasons good employees quit can vary. But, with talent, comes options. When you’re next dealing with your employee’s, give them a quick pat on the back, tell them they’re doing great and make sure they know they’re appreciated. To make your employees want to work for you and not just use you as a stepping stone for a good job.

Follow these quick guidelines and reap the rewards, your employees and business will thank you for it.

Lauren Clarke

Lauren Clarke

Lauren writes for 6Q and a number of other blogs from her home office in Australia. She spends her time writing, reading and changing US to International English on many articles that she edits.