Employee Retention - 10 Reasons for Workplace Turnover and the Statistics Behind Them

Posted by Ashley Autry on Dec. 3, 2020

If you're a follower of us here at Access Perks, you already know how much we love data about workplace satisfaction and engagement. So much so that we actually keep an entire compendium of fascinating research about all kinds of employee behavior and what drives it.

And now, with the help of our stats pages, we've gathered ten of the most common reasons employees look for a new job.

Keeping employees (especially the valuable ones) is a challenge for most employers, as 66% of professional workers plan not to stay at their current company long term. It's a war for talent out there, and organizations are fighting to keep that talent for as long as possible.

So just what is the price of employee turnover? Looking at the monetary impact alone, the cost is enormous. According to one source, it can range from an estimated 90% to 200% of a departing employee’s salary. And while 60-70% of employee turnover is voluntary, 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable.

Did you catch that? PREVENTABLE – as in the majority of employees can be deterred from quitting their jobs. To do that however, we need to understand what causes employees to look for a new job in the first place.

employee benefits stats

Why Employees Leave & How to Make Them Stay

The reality is, you probably have a group of employees right now who are thinking about looking for other job opportunities. Not the best feeling in the world knowing you may have some wayward workers. Here are ten reasons employees call it quits.
  1. Money

    Money is perhaps the number one motivator for 67% of job seekers and employees looking elsewhere for career opportunities. In fact, one study suggests that 54.2% of employees would leave their job for nothing more than a pay raise. To combat the feeling of being underpaid or eyes for a bigger paycheck, we suggest offering a financial wellness program and/or employee discount program.

    Financial wellness programs are designed to help your employees become more educated about how best to budget, spend and save their money. This can give them greater peace of mind and they’ll appreciate your interest in helping them be financially well. And recent data supports the idea that employees who are engaged with their financial wellness program are likely to stay at the company (56%), stay or become healthy (50%) and remain productive in the office (45%). At the same time, a good employee discount program (like Access Perks) to go along with your financial wellness efforts will allow your employees to keep more money in their wallets by saving often on things they buy everyday as well as big ticket items.
  2. Flexibility

    Studies show that flexible work and work schedules are also influential for employee retention, confirmed by 89% of employers who say flexibility matters when it comes to staff attraction and retention. And companies that support remote work generally have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t. Meanwhile, 74% of workers surveyed would quit their job to work for an organization offering remote-work options, and 80% would be more loyal if their employer offered job flexibility.split
    It’s simple, if you want to promote greater loyalty and decrease turnover among employees, you’ll need to be open to flexible scheduling and remote work options for workers. Give employees a little more room to adjust their weekly work schedules to fit within their personal life.
  3. Work-Life Balance

    It’s important to remember that employees are people, too. They don’t live to come to work, but in most cases, work so they can live - almost half of employees consider a company’s work-life balance a crucial factor when researching a job. With commitments that are meaningful to them outside of their job, employees desire to feel recognized and supported in these other aspects of their life. The data supports this point, saying that 55% of workers who feel their employer cares about their well-being want to stay at their company for 10 years or more vs. 33% who don’t believe their company cares.

    With that in mind, an important way to help inspire happier, healthier workers is to give them enough time off work to enjoy the other parts of their lives. For instance, 65% of employees who take a week or more of vacation feel strongly about working for their organization a year from now.

    But don't make them feel bad for taking advantage of their PTO and vacation time. Instead, create a work culture that encourages employees to take time away from the office. Try encouraging workers to unplug during time away from the office, because 40% of employees in cultures that don't support unplugging are likely to look for a new job in the next year.  

  4. Benefits

    How important are meaningful benefits? Recent data is pretty clear on the point. Research shows that 78% of workers would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers, 80% who have a good variety of benefits identified strongly with their organization’s vision and values, and 50% would leave their current job for better benefits.

    With the rising cost of health insurance alone, it’s no wonder employees search out companies that offer above average benefit options. But keep in mind, no matter what benefits you offer, they won't be of much value if your employees don’t understand them or get frustrated trying to access and use them. Studies show that 81% of employees who can easily access their benefits feel loyal to their employer and 77% who understand their benefits offering saw themselves staying at their organization for the foreseeable future.

  5. Bad Boss

    One person can have a huge impact on employees’ work experience, especially if they're in a position of leadership. One source says that 76% of employees believe their manager creates the culture at work, and 58% have left a job because of them. Not only should those in leadership positions help create a positive work environment, but also make the staff feel cared for, supported and capable. For example,  68% of employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel supported by senior employees.

    So just how big an impact can a person of power in the workplace have? Studies reveal that 50% of employees have left a position to escape a bad manager, and 58% would start a job with a lower salary if it meant working for a great boss. Plus, 56% of workers think managers are promoted prematurely, while 60% feel managerial training is needed. Employees have a lot to say when it comes to their superiors, including issues that are worth quitting for:

    • Breaking promises (46%)
    • Over-working employees (42%)
    • Unrealistic expectations (42%)
    • Having limited knowledge (30%)
    • Giving inadequate performance feedback (24%)
    • Unable to effectively help workers develop their skills (23%)
    • Uninvolved in daily interactions (18%)

    Yikes. You can see why it’s imperative that senior employees have the proper training, knowledge and skills to help them be successful at managing and leading others - creating leaders who inspire and support those under them.

  6. Toxic Corporate Culture

    Employees probably spend more time at work than at home, making a healthy and positive work culture essential to their overall happiness. A lot of us know how it feels to be trapped in a toxic job and the effect it can have on your personal life. Toxic workplace cultures have driven 20% of U.S. employees out of their jobs in the past five years at a turnover cost greater than $223 billion. Other findings show that 81% of job seekers start looking for new work because they are dissatisfied with their work environment.


    Bottom line? Employees don’t want to dread going into work. They should feel valued as individuals and cared about has human beings - 60% of workers who felt cared for by their employer plan to stay with their companies for three or more years, and 94% feel personally engaged in their work.

    In fact, employees’ need to be understood runs so deep that nearly 80% would consider leaving their current organization if it started being less empathetic, and 92% agree that empathetic employers drive retention (along with 98% of HR professionals).

    A company’s culture starts from the top and trickles down, so we suggest examining your work culture more closely.  Survey employees of all demographics to see where you stand and ask for their feedback and recommendations. Use the information you find to create a better work environment for your most valuable asset.

  7. Learning & Development

    Most people don’t accept a job or career path without the possibility for growth. Employees wish to be stimulated, challenged and allowed to work up to their full potential. In fact, businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30-50% higher than those that don’t.

    One survey points out that 86% of employees said it is important for employers to provide learning opportunities. Plus, more than 80% say they would quit their jobs for better development opportunities, 70% would be likely to leave and take a job with an organization known for investing in employee development and learning, and 61% look for career development opportunities when considering employment options.

    Find out what training, skills and opportunities your employees are interested in and set up programs within your company or support them utilizing outside training. A great example of in-company training would be setting up a mentor program, as 83% of workers participating in a mentoring program said the experience positively influenced their desire to stay at their organization.

  8. Meaningful (and Ethical) Work

    More and more employees long for deeper value from their employers versus beyond that of a paycheck. People want to feel good about the work they do and who they work for.

    Research shows that 27% of people accepted a new position for the opportunity to do more meaningful work. Nearly 20% of workers, ages 24-35, said an employer's reputation for ethical behavior, diversity and inclusion is important when choosing a job. And a whopping 70% of millennials believe a company’s sustainability would impact their decision to stay for the long haul.

    The trendiness around purposeful work is growing so rapidly that 70% of executives say employees’ desire for purpose is impacting HR’s ability to recruit and retain top talent, 71% say it’s prompting HR to rethink certain work policies, and 67% say its compelling HR to work more closely with corporate social responsibility to create new policies and programs that give employees the opportunities to get involved in social projects.

    We recommend evaluating your workplace’s ecological footprint, code of ethics, involvement in outside causes, as well as offering employees opportunities to serve, volunteer, and get involved.  

  9. Onboarding

    It’s exciting when talented, fresh employees are joining your team and going through the onboarding process, Yet it’s crucial to remember that the onboarding process sets new workers up for future success within your company. 

    Onboarding can have a huge effect on how long an employee chooses to stay based on their experience. Organizations with poorly handled onboarding are considered twice as likely to have new staff seeking other opportunities soon after hire. Research also shows that 53% of HR professionals believe employee engagement rises when onboarding is improved, with 98% of executives saying onboarding programs are a key factor in retention efforts.

  10. Inadequate Technology

    It can be frustrating as an employee to feel your work is held back due to a lack of proper technological tools. About 40% of workers said they left a company because they didn't have state-of-the-art digital tools, and are 450% more likely to want to leave if they work for a technology laggard.

    Still not sure that having the necessary technology at your company will make all that much difference? One study reveals that 80% of workers feel having the most up to date tools, an innovative culture (72%) and reputation as a leader in digitization (62%) influence whether they join a company.

    If your place of business isn’t as technologically advanced as it could be, you may want to ask yourself (and your executive team) why. Then come up with a plan and/or budget of how you can best get there to support your employees’ needs.

New call-to-action

Like a Good Marriage, Employee Retention Takes Commitment - Are You Ready to Take the Plunge?

Any good relationship takes effort and a solid commitment. The same goes for the relationship you have and/or want with your employees. If you want them to stay, you have to understand what makes them tick and do your best to meet their needs and expectations.

Hopefully our inside look at what instigates employees to leave and the thoughts around what you can do to combat those issues will help in your quest for retention. But don't just take our word for it. Check out for yourself what the statistics have to say at our "ultimate" collections of current research about employee engagement, loyalty, benefits and workplace perks

In the meantime, we'd love to hear your ideas around how to best reduce employee turnover and increase overall retention. Be sure to comment below!

New call-to-action

Topics: Employee Discount Programs, employee engagement, earning engagement, employee incentives, employee retention, employee perks, Employee Engagement + Loyalty, employee stress, workplace anxiety, wellness strategies, employee wellness

Ashley Autry

Written by Ashley Autry

Ashley Autry is a Marketing Professional at Access Development. She's an expert proofer, gatherer of loyalty stats, research ace, writing queen, and overseer of various marketing projects.