Why Do Good Employees Leave?

Estimated reading time: 8 mins

This is one mystery as old as the time people first started working for other people. There is a lot that contributes to a good resource quitting a job. When anyone leaves a business, there can be many mixed emotions. When a good employee leaves, it can be very hurting and worrying as well. However, we are seeing an ever-increasing rate of employee turnover in organisations that might otherwise seem like an ideal place to work in. So why is this such a common narrative among businesses? Why are seemingly good companies unable to retain their good talent? What are the major reasons for these good employees to quit their job? In this blog post, we will try to find out!

The entire process of employing someone is usually time consuming and in business, time is money. Therefore, it can sometimes end up being very expensive to hire new employees all the time. It can end up being a chore for an organisation to replace an employee. Most of the employees you will meet will try to do a good job – good enough to deserve a letter of recommendation when they leave. In some rare instances, there might have been the need to let underperforming employees go.

Now imagine you have to let a valuable employee leave you. This will surely have an unintentional hurt on your business and you will know that replacing him or her will be quite a struggle. It will be particularly difficult for the directly affected team and team members to maintain the quality of work, making it harder for them to hire the right candidate.

Below, we will be trying to answer the golden question: what makes a good employee quit his or her job?

Feeling Unchallenged

People spend over one third of their lives either working, transporting themselves to work or getting ready for work. It only seems fair for them to ask for a little enjoyment in the time they spend doing work-related activities.

The moment they stop enjoying work is the moment they start having problems. If they feel bored and unchallenged at work, they will likely seek another employment. They might be a talented and hardworking employee, but if they are not being challenged enough you should be prepared to look for a replacement.

Getting Overworked

On the other side, it is possible for a good employee to be overworked. In fact, this tends to be a greater reason for good employees quitting their jobs. I have seen many good resources given more than they could handle at work. Just because someone is good at what s/he does, does not mean you start suffocating him or her with more than s/he can chew.

The productivity levels of these overworked employees sharply declines if they continue working more than 40 hours a week every week. No wonder some Scandinavian countries are witnessing increased productivity with reduced working hours.

Being Undervalued and Not Feeling Recognised

Not recognising the efforts and contributions of your good employees is a rather straight way for you to ensure they look for other job opportunities. It is very easy for you to encourage your employee on a job well done and even easier to give them a quick pat on the back.

There will always be some employees who will give a 101% to your business’s cause and all they ask in return is a little acknowledgment from you as a reward. Now this does not mean rewarding them for a well-deserved effort is a bad idea, but at least do something! In fact, a little gesture from you can go a long way in retaining a good resource and keeping him or her happy.

Too Much Dependence

People who are over achievers like to be independent. If they are confined too much they will start looking for more independence in their next career move. Independence allows them to be confident in their abilities and believe that they are being trusted with an important project or task.

So you should do your best to not drive away the good, talented and capable employees by too much unnecessary micromanaging. Always remember that people want to be managed as part of the company and not constantly by someone looking over their shoulders.

Feeling of Being Disengaged

As an employer, a disengaged employee can be very dangerous for you. This means there is someone who is simply not utilising his or her skills or is being unmotivated. An important employee being disengaged can result in a major business failure. However bad the situation, there are some remedies to such feelings, but they will require efforts from the management.

The management will have to dissect the troubling situation and assess and see if there is anything that can be done to fix it. You should aim to reengage and reinvigorate the employee. Give them a week off or ask them what they want and give them the recognition they deserve. You never know unless you dissect!

Faulty Office Culture

Office culture can also be a pain for a good employee. It is possible that an employee found a dream job but in reality, it is nothing like what s/he had in mind. The office culture can play an important role in deciding if a good employee will leave the organisation.

If the office has a great culture, it can be the all-important differentiator between retaining a good resource to being just another stepping-stone for him or her. For you to be sure that the latter is not the case, you will need to make an office culture that is open, friendly and inclusive. It should attract the best people for your organisation. Your office will need to have a culture that people want to stay and grow up to become greater contributors to the success of the company.

Related: How your office culture might be getting affected by poor hiring practices.

Bad Work/Life Balance

Another reason and one that should not come as a shocker is when employees do not have a healthy work/life balance. Whether it is to spend more time with loved ones, relaxing and living life outside of work or doing the things that you love, we all need to have that perfect balance to be able to enjoy our work thoroughly.

While most employers know this, surprisingly there are many who still overwork their employee and reduce this important work/life balance of their employees, resulting in the feeling of being unsatisfied. This is one big reason why employees might start looking elsewhere for a job where they might have a better working schedule.

Poor Office Management

People work for people, not businesses. This is equally true when it comes to the way organisations manage their talents. In case the employer does not care about a good worker, they should be prepared to get into another hiring cycle to fill the role, which is waiting to be left vacant.

Poor office management can mean many things, including too little management or too much micromanagement. The crux of this is that poor management skills make an employee lose belief in his or her company, which is definitely bad news for you.

Promoting or Hiring the Wrong People

Not many feelings can be as bad as giving your best at your workplace only to find out that your new boss is less qualified or less experienced than you. When the hiring managers get new resources on board, they should make sure they are not only a cultural fit, but also a great and justified addition to the team.

It can get even worse when the wrong people get promoted, while those who are hardworking are getting passed over. Therefore, if you want to insult your good employees and make them look for another job, this is your recipe for success.

Fewer Opportunities for Growth

Whenever we take a new job there are a few things that we always want to find out, including the opportunities to learn and develop our skills at the new workplace. The good news is that this is something that you can totally control as an employer. So if you want to ensure that your employees stay with you, be sure to give them all the good opportunities that you can.

This can be as simple as regularly up-skilling your team with trainings and certifications. Make them attend workshops and masterclasses to learn new skills and become more qualified. This will be great for them professionally and will also tell them that you honestly care about their career progression.


The reasons for good employees to leave can vary a lot. However, with talent, comes options. Therefore, whenever you are dealing with your employees encourage them and tell them that they are doing great. Give them a pat on the back and work towards providing them a great office culture. Hire the right people and promote the deserving people. Give them reasons to continue giving their best and working for you.

Do you have any suggestions of your own? Are you a hiring manager? Share your experiences with our readers in the comments section below. I also encourage you to read how to quit your job without burning all bridges.

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