Have you ever wondered why employees leave? Or, better yet, what you can do to help them stay?

A while ago we drew attention to this question on Facebook and we got the comments below.

With a lot of insights on hand, we talk here about the core points employees consider before they decide to quit.

So prepare your drink and rest back in your chair and let us walk you through it all.

The 6 questions employees ask before quitting

1. “Am I appreciated?”

The most powerful factor many employers forget about cultivating is appreciation!

35% of the people who answered our Facebook question stated that being appreciated at their current jobs is what is stopping them from leaving.

It seems like appreciation has become a trend. It’s become normal to have loads of commercials/campaigns boasting the “we appreciate our employees” atmosphere. And while most companies compete over this, there are some managers who overlook it.

Appreciation is good for your business

When it comes to knowing what’s best for your business, you must include employee appreciation and think of how you can communicate it. 

  • Ask yourself, “Is it my job, as a manager/employer, to keep employees happy and recognized?”

The whole “you don’t have to thank them; they’re just doing their jobs” attitude is not attractive to employees. Happy, appreciated employees are becoming a key consideration of the modern workplace. HubSpot’s study proved that companies that keep their employees happy have higher retention and productivity.

  • Ask yourself, “Am I communicating appreciation only to serve the business need?”

When relating appreciation with business’s improvement it crashes into the distorted thoughts of employee recognition.

Some companies/employers think that financial benefits would make employees feel motivated to work with harder efforts that would raise the business’ ROI. This considered as true manipulation of fiscal appreciation because of the constant burnout and consumption of employees by putting more payments to the picture.

Let’s get on the same page!

Appreciation is relative and what works for one employee doesn’t necessarily work for another! And although many reasons are in your control, ultimately, appreciation mainly has two roots:

  • Material appreciation

Clearly, material benefits are a very strong retention factor that pays off and businesses that do compensate their employees fairly find fair ROIs in return. 

  • Moral appreciation

In 2013, Glassdoor conducted a survey that had astonishing results! 53% of the participating employees said that they would stay longer at their jobs if they felt more appreciated by their bosses. Moreover, 81% said that they feel the urge to work harder when their bosses show them appreciation. 

Appreciation can be informal recognition in the form of a sincere “thank you” for a job well done, for completing a project quickly, or for coming to a meeting prepared and ahead of time. It can be more ceremonial like an employee of the month award type of deal.

In return, you’ll find that these simple gestures improve employee productivity, enhance workplace morale, keep everyone engaged, and help build loyalty.

2. “Am I being mentored?”

As we scrolled deep in the Comments section on our Facebook question, some respondents stated that having someone to go to is their reason for holding on.

Mentorship is a treasure that everybody wants to get their hands on. It is common to find that an employee stays at their job when they’re able to find good mentors all around their workplace.

Furthermore, employees sometimes demand to have a mentorship program or even ask someone that manages them to mentor them.  

Mentorship empowers

Let’s settle this once and for all: no one is too successful or too old to have a mentor. On the contrary, most successful people have mentors. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and a lot more had and still have mentors.

In 2008, Elsevier published a study under the title “Does mentoring matter?” which concluded that a mentoring relationship might promote career growth. 

Mentors impart expertise and knowledge which contributes to mentees’  learning and skill development. Mentors facilitate professional networking within the right academic and organizational contexts that introduce mentees to influential individuals

All of this reflects later on the mentored employees in that they have higher productivity, make fewer mistakes, and are able to provide on-time delivery of projects that will cut any additional cost for the company. 

3. “Is the environment healthy enough?”

“You can have all the right strategy in the world; if you don’t have the right culture, you’re dead”

- Patrick Whitesell.

It’s undeniable how a healthy workplace reflects on the engagement and productivity of an employee. According to the pie chart 20% of the comments, a healthy workplace is one of the biggest motivating factors. 

The definition of a healthy environment is very broad and loose so let’s clear it up.

What is a healthy work environment?

As we spend one-third of our lives or even more at work, we like to think of it as an ecosystem that needs to be watered and its wellbeing is taken care of. 

Would you like to get your plants and grass stepped over? Would you like it if someone stunted your ecosystem’s growth?

Simply, no! Creating a healthy environment is just the same including cornerstone values like:

  • Building credits of trust supported by ground rules.
  • Reinforcing clear and obvious communication with coworkers.

On the other hand, a toxic environment is a total opposite! Combine bullying, narcissistic people, lack of transparency, widespread gossips, and, lastly, sexual harassment and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe. These can compromise harmony at the workplace and drive employees away.

Takeaway: Your team won’t work in a toxic environment.

What surrounds your employees will rub off on the work itself and eventually on the impact and public image of the whole business. 

So use actionable elements that can actually have an impact on the ground like changing how communications work, creating more sophisticated ground rules and providing constant culture surveys that can alert you when there are problems and keep employees satisfied because they know their opinions are considered.

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4. “Am I paid well?”

With unemployment rates climbing up almost every second, employers tend to just throw out-of-cycle money raises, bonuses, and incentive payments at the problem.

As it turns out, dangling cash as a carrot likely isn’t the best solution. According to a Harvard Business Review study, money is not the problem. In fact, 89% of bosses believe their employees quit because they need more money while only 12% of employees actually leave their jobs because they want more money.

Nevertheless, to say that money is one major element that is directly connected to the satisfaction rate of an employee is an understatement. We hear about people that are still negotiating their salaries even though they have spent two years or more working. Being underpaid is a huge problem (especially for millennials). 

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The same Harvard Business Review case study also stated that a 10% higher base pay is connected to a 1.5% increase in employee retention and even looking forward to the next promotion’s new responsibilities and compensation.

Asmaa Abd El Raheem, our very own HR generalist, doesn’t disagree with the fact that compensation matters but informed us that some employees love having other benefits as well like:

  • Enhancing health insurance benefits
  • Leaving space for work-life balance by allowing flexible schedules and working remotely
  • Facilitating transportation services
  • Providing training and coaching 
  • Promoting bonus structure benefits

Additionally, if a company’s big on benefits but low on resources, simple ideas such as free food, education, discounts on services and products, or even baby care services are what retains employees and makes them loyal. 

Takeaway: Benefits can shape a company’s culture.

Payment and benefits programs and packages really stand out as significant factors because they can communicate the fundamental values of the business. What you offer speaks directly to what your leadership regards as important. Do not underestimate it.

5. “Am I satisfied?”

Job satisfaction has always been one of the motives that make any employee stay where they are. And out of 500 comments, we got almost 100 comments asserting that they are staying because they’re satisfied.

It starts with the job description…

Things get thorny whenever the job description discussion is mentioned. We’ve heard a lot of stories about employees accepting an offer based on a specific job description only to find themselves loaded with tasks that are irrelevant.

Others mentioned job descriptions that they totally misunderstood. The list can go on and on with abusing and misunderstanding the job description and losing potential good employees.

Creating a realistic job description is a must when seeking new hires along with a concise list of critical competencies. 

Then it’s work-life balance…

Work-life balance has never been more important.  Employees don’t want to live at work and end up consumed by their job.

Based on our comments and a report Kronos published, a percentage of 20% up to 50% of people quit due to suffering from burnout at work which is a major problem to HR professionals that hinders the improvement of retention strategies.

This means that working on creating a good culture and a flexible system that provides space to have a life outside of work is of the utmost importance.

And there are other important factors like…

Career growth appreciation, stability, and good management. These factors only continue to uphold the highest employee satisfaction rates. 

6. “Am I a part of something special?”

Let’s be honest: at orientations, it becomes very clear what the entity has as long-term goals, values, vision, and mission. With such affirmations, everyone can effectively work to achieve them through consistent work for the company’s special causes and move the game forward. 

Do you think it’s that easy?

Well, because of digitate’s study you might think it over. They proved that organizations with poor onboarding programs have double the chances of experiencing employee turnover.

Also, according to Gallup’s studies, only 23% believe they can apply these values to their work every day while only 27% actually strongly agree and believe in the company’s values. 

The reason why these percentages are shocking to every employer out there is that maybe companies have a gap between their written values, mission, and vision and the actual unwritten, unspoken ones that are practically in play.

The harmful confusion

Imagine if one employee (who doesn’t know how to swim) took a brand’s hand and got straight into the sea. This is what the whole sea legs era is about. 

The inconsistency and confusion between the desired values and goals and the actual ones caused this harm to a lot of workers which made them leave. Everyone detests mazes and they choose the fast exit, always. 

So now let’s talk about reasons….

  • Lack of personal buy-in with the company. And that’s mainly a manager’s job to connect the company’s values with what the employee believes in.
  • Agreement and alignment with the company’s goals and objectives and emotional attachment to both coworkers and the job itself.


We got some convincing witty comments…

Final Takeaway



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