Why do people really quit their jobs?

April 30, 2021
COVID-19 has proved to be an interesting time for recruitment, HR, and general business management. Many companies locally and around the globe have had to downsize and reduce headcount, while others have had to assist their staff in the shift to new ways of working.
Employees quit jobs for countless reasons. Money is the first thing that usually springs to mind but not every resignation is financial in nature and understanding other underlying factors may be necessary to retain an employee.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with the company, their manager, or their job at all but rather very personal factors such as returning to full-time education, relocating country or staying at home to mind children.

Here are some of the most common reasons we hear from employees about why they’re looking to leave their current roles:

Feeling underpaid

The top gripe we hear is without doubt money! People who feel they are underpaid and are struggling to make ends meet are almost always keeping an eye out for other opportunities. As we know, Cayman is a particularly expensive place to live and so this lends itself to candidates being highly money motivated and willing to move employers for more cash (or covered benefits to leave them with more cash). Money talks! This is no longer a topic that people are keeping to themselves either and so colleagues are aware of each other’s pay and the salaries in the wider market. Competitive salaries and fair/ equal salaries will motivate people to stay. By holding reviews, you can drill down into this topic.

No Career Progression

A lack of growth opportunities comes in a close second of reasons for leaving here in Cayman. Most people want to be challenged in their work, given the opportunity to learn new things and have their career path defined. This looks different in every organization but giving employees recognition for hard work and promotion potential is highly motivating. By providing a clear career path, this lets employees see themselves with you long term and makes them feel valued. Not doing this will mean your competitors will very likely be hearing from your best people.

Corporate Culture

Another hot topic amongst candidates is culture. This is of great importance and a toxic culture will cause staff to look elsewhere. Benefits and company perks play into this, but the workplace environment is usually the main source of disgruntlement as it permeates throughout the business. No magic wand will sort this out and it can be a specific manager/ department rather than companywide. Fostering open communication with staff, tackling issues head-on and making your company mission clear from the off will make employees feel looked after and thus likely to stay longer.

Feeling Ignored

When someone complains to management about their supervisor or a co-worker and nothing happens this is often a trigger to commence the job search. If someone feels they’re being bullied, feels left out, singled out, or passed over, it’s not something that is tolerated for long. Not an easy fix but communication and mediation are needed here to navigate a difficult situation. By showing a willingness to listen and take action will make employees feel heard and valued.

Lack of Flexibility

The past 18 months has really brought this to the fore and don’t underestimate how key this is to retaining talent. Before March 2020 flexible working was considered a benefit by most, now it’s an expectation. Clock watching, not having provisions for working from home and a lack of flexi hours are sticking points for people. These areas play into the elusive work-life balance that everyone is hyper aware of these days and so by showing employees they’re trusted and treated as adults will undoubtedly benefit the business as a whole and ensure you hang on to good people.

Obviously employers would rather retain most existing staff than go through lengthy recruitment processes to backfill roles, and train and develop new hires. Although on the positive side, a resignation does allow you the opportunity to add new talent to your team. With that being said, a solid exit interview is a great opportunity to discover the motivators of a particular individual. If it’s a job offer they couldn’t turn down with a huge salary bump the chances are you couldn’t have held on to them. If they’re leaving because their new company allows them to start at 8 and finish at 4, this may but something you can address to avoid someone else leaving for the same reason. Having the information to be able to spot patterns is empowering!

We always advise clients as to why a particular applicant is looking to leave their current employer and come work for them. And almost always it’s for one of the above reasons. As we know, counter offers are almost always futile, as even if they accept you are likely replacing them in 6 months anyway – particularly if you can’t fulfill your promises quickly enough which can be hard to do within a corporate structure.

It’s been a trying time for business and a huge period of adjustment and we don’t always get it right. Showing employees you’re making the effort is half the battle.