Why Your Employees Quit

At first glance, leaving a job that you’ve put time and effort into seems like shooting yourself in the foot. But nevertheless, it happens all the time.

As an employer, it can come at the worst times, especially when it’s unexpected. Attrition is not only inconvenient and production-affecting, but it is costly to your bottom line. It would really help to have a better understanding of what drives this behaviour in a Canadian employee.

Thankfully, that’s what we’re here to discuss in this article! As well as some cutting edge solutions for employers to preempt the loss of employees. Let’s have a look.

Work-Life Balance

We can’t stress enough how much STRESS drives attrition!

Monster Canada completed a recent survey about the nation’s workforce that highlighted a disturbing statistic: 25% of Canadians leave their job simply because of the stress it causes them.

More than that, 17% who haven’t quit have still considered making an exit.

And while 1 in 4 workers have quit from the stress, 1 in 2 claim to be overworked. That means that the employers of those 58% of workers are at risk of losing their employees to an inappropriate work-life balance.

Work-life balance incorporates a multitude of factors, but results in one of two situations: stress, or job satisfaction. Proper management of the elements that affect your employee’s work-life balance can tip the scales significantly in either direction. Some elements include:

  • Flexibility of hours
  • Commuting requirements (or telecommuting options)
  • Flexibility of vacation time
  • Work encroaching on personal time (working during off-hours)
  • Management issues/trust

In the well over 1000 Canadians surveyed, 65% did agree that their employer supported a healthy work-life balance. But that still leaves one third teetering on the brink of becoming overloaded and wildly dissatisfied. The end result could more than likely be quitting for many of those Canadians.

Consider how your business endorses the personal needs and work-life balance of its employees. What steps can you take to avoid attrition from stress?


Those in business are no stranger to the expression “money talks”. But when you don’t talk the talk, your employees are the ones who walk the walk.

In a robust survey completed by OfficeTeam, they discovered that almost half of all Canadian workers would quit their job simply because of a bigger paycheque.

The stats were somewhat different by gender: 45% of men would resign over a better offer, with only 39% of women saying they’d jump ship for more money.

Still, financial compensation was the lead driving force of quit rates by a longshot, leading with a cumulative 43% saying that would be the main reason to leave their current job. Every other possibility took home less than 17% of responses. Here’s the breakdown:

For more money


Bored/unchallenged by work


Don’t feel appreciated


For a company with a higher purpose/stronger mission


Corporate culture is not a fit


Bad commute/want something closer to home


Unhappy with boss


*figure due to rounded values



It’s clear this is an unignorable aspect of retaining good retention rates.

When’s the last time you reviewed your compensation packages? Are you sure they’re still competitive and provide for your employees needs?


Unrewarding Work

Besides the financial rewards, there are many things that workers look for when it comes to feeling rewarded with their job.

One of the top things is opportunities for personal and professional growth. No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. People appreciate having room to grow and develop, even in their business lives. Companies that make allowances for promotions, training and education, and ways for employees to become more integrated with their company as a whole, are positively affecting their employees lives and giving them the opportunities they seek.

What’s more, employers who actively encourage growth and offer recognition for their employees’ achievements do more to support their job satisfaction then simply leaving them to their own devices. Managers should work with their staff to make developmental plans and offer support and guidance every step of the way.

A rewarding work experience can also come down to the company’s own vision. If your business is innovative, exciting, and has a strong sense of purpose, then your employees will feel excited too. Workers, especially millennials, are looking for a job that isn’t boring. Work that is challenging (but not stressful), as well as interesting and varying, can really offer your employees a sense of fulfillment.

That sense of fulfillment can be different for everyone, but if your employees have values that line up with your company values, they will feel a better fit with your company culture. This leads to the sense of fulfillment that comes with moving towards goals at work that not only support the company’s mission, but their personal life’s mission as well.

What do you do to ensure the work your employees do is rewarding?


Many employers assume that they should only look at “why” their employees leave. But you should also be looking at the “when”.

Research conducted by CEB, a best-practice insight and technology company, says “We’ve learned that what really affects people is their sense of how they’re doing compared with other people in their peer group, or with where they thought they would be at a certain point in life. We’ve learned to focus on moments that allow people to make these comparisons.”

The research proves that there are key times in a person’s life and career where they are most likely to reflect on their situation, and question their job satisfaction. For instance, job seeking behaviour increases 6% on the anniversary of being hired, and 9% on the anniversary of their last promotion.

Other defining moments include birthdays (particularly significant are the 40 and 50 year ones), as well as any large convention involving their peers, such as high-school reunions (after which job hunting increases 16%). These catalytic events are significant because they often result in people evaluating themselves, and comparing their milestones to those in their peer group.

Other considerations can include stressful periods at work. Holiday rushes, seasonal upticks, even big events like Black Friday, can be tipping points for workers when it comes to deciding to leave their job.

Have you noticed any other patterns to when you experience turnover?

Analytics Help You Predict The Quit

You might think that you know your employees well enough to know when they’re on the fence about quitting. But are you really just waiting for them to say they’re leaving to decide to take action?

Your workers may let you know about other offers they receive. At which point, sure, you can make a counteroffer to try to keep them on board. But research firm CEB’s data shows that half of all employees who stay on for a counteroffer still leave within a year regardless.

You need to intervene preemptively to be effective. But how to do that? Well, analytics have come a long way from just asking an employee “how’s it going?”

Many companies have developed their own strategies, or work with analytics firms like Joberate, to suss out behaviour that suggests employee dissatisfaction as well as job seeking.

It can be as simple as monitoring how much time an employee spends on networking or job board sites like LinkedIn. More advanced analytics can scan a worker’s social media to look for trends in the type of content they share and post, to weigh whether they are unhappy in their job.

While you may not be ready to jump into the big tech solutions, you should be taking time to evaluate the likelihood of turnover at your business. Something as simple as job satisfaction surveys, and employee satisfaction interviews or discussions with their manager can provide incredibly valuable feedback on areas you need to address.

You may not even be looking for this information to deal with a particular employee. A department or team with low satisfaction scores can help you review the management styles and pain points of your business at large.

The important thing is to take action once you have the information. One interesting approach that Credit Suisse takes when someone is at risk of quitting is to have their HR department reach out to employees by phone to tell them about job openings they could qualify for inside the company. They reduced their 2014 attrition rate 1% and estimated to have saved between $75-100 million in associated costs.

It’s almost like poaching their own employees. Consider taking a similar approach at your company, before outside recruiters do the poaching for you. Don’t let the “honeymoon” phase of promoting or hiring someone come to a close. Keep working to keep them satisfied and they will keep doing their best work for you, and then you too can lose the attrition issues instead of losing your employees!

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357

Marmora Office

By Appointment Only
Itinerant Services 

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357