Why Happy Workers Quit Their Jobs

Posted March 01, 2017

If an employee is happy, they’re not likely to quit - right? Not always. In fact, the idea that happy employees are secure at work is a common misconception. Statistics show that over half of employees are satisfied with their current position, but open to finding a new job.

While employees may be fulfilled by the work they’re doing, total job satisfaction is defined by a wide variety of factors. If all factors aren’t met, even happy employees may leave. Understanding why these workers seek new roles can help companies battle turnover. Below, we’ve outlined a few reasons why happy workers quit their jobs.

Lack of professional career development

If an employee is completely qualified to do the day-to-day tasks that are asked of them, but lack the potential to grow and develop in their role, they’ll start to seek alternative positions that offer that growth. Day in and day out goals and accomplishments can only satisfy an employee for so long before stagnation kicks in. “Providing resources for career and team growth is invaluable to an organization’s success” says Heidi Golledge, Chief Happiness Officer of CareerBliss. A truly satisfied employee desires new challenges and something to aspire towards.

Offering chances for growth is a key factor for today’s workforce, especially with Millennials. According to Gallup, 55% of Millennials are hungry for a job that accelerates their professional career development. Offering advanced education classes, webinars, conferences and the like will encourage employees to continue growing in their careers, and their current role.

Lack of recognitionWhy do employees quit?

Traditional forms of recognition, be it bonuses or raises, are no longer enough for today’s workforce. Additional incentives help employees feel valued. Small forms of recognition, like thank you notes or words of appreciation, can be a great way to make an employee feel respected.

Whether your means of recognition are big or small, they should be regular and timely. They should also feel authentic - no one wants to be recognized or rewarded for the sake of being recognized or rewarded. People can see through false praise. Be sure that each time an employee is recognized, it’s true and honest.

Lack of strong leadership

While an employee may be working at their dream job, they may not have a dream boss - this is a big reason why workers quit. In fact, 50% of workers surveyed by Gallup reported leaving “to get away from their managers.”

A truly satisfied employee must trust in and feel like they can open up to their bosses. Organizations that focus on hierarchy and titles instead of the value of all of employees’ input will see workers leave. Be sure to invest in the leaders you hire, and devote time and energy into ensuring they are creating positive and trustworthy environments for all employees.

Lack of purpose

Finding meaning in your work is a critical factor in employee satisfaction. Employees need a clear understanding of why an organization exists, and a knowledge of how their specific role fits into the larger vision of the company.

This vision and purpose also needs to be communicated effectively to each employee. Creating an environment that allows workers to feel as though they are participating in something bigger than themselves will make them more engaged - and more likely to stick around.

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