Is the grass greener on the other side?

We have previously discussed a lot of the ways in which an employer will look to retain their talent and keep them engaged to minimise churn. Unfortunately though, no matter what you do, some people just believe that the grass is greener elsewhere and decide to move onto pastures new.

We believe the hardest information to try to attain is the REAL reason why an individual has decided to leave. Exit interviews are designed to capture this data so the business can act accordingly, however a lot of the time an employee will state “fluffy” reasons for leaving to save face or to ensure they receive a good reference. You will occasionally have someone give you the warts and all reasons as to why they have decided to leave and take a new opportunity. However, a lot of the time the business will put this down to them being an embittered employee holding a grudge who is looking to create a drama as they walk out the exit door!

From our findings, the top reasons for leaving (in no particular order) are:

  • Looking for career progression, either a promotion or a more complex role or challenging technical environment
  • Didn’t feel the company was right for them anymore or the company had changed
  • Lack of recognition
  • Bonus was not paid even though it was promised
  • Looking to move to an employer which provides or pays for training
  • Didn’t get on with their direct manager or team members
  • Didn’t like their new manager
  • The individual is relocating or the company is re-locating
  • Change in personal circumstance (addition to the family, getting married, etc.)
  • To go contracting
  • Being made redundant or threat of redundancy
  • Decided to leave as they have been there for too long in their opinion

A lot of these reasons could be considered insincere reasons depending upon the size of the employer and the opportunity within. Taking career progression, if someone has genuinely hit a glass ceiling and can’t progress any further due to the scale of the business then it can be considered a fair reason to leave. A promotion usually means a pay rise though, so did the person leave because they get more responsibility AND more pay? in their new role or did they get overlooked for a promotion as a colleague was promoted instead, so they decided to look elsewhere?

Other reasons for leaving:

  • Was bullied by their manager
  • BREXIT – uncertain on their future and the future of their family in  the UK
  •  Married their direct manager so had to leave


Clear communication and open dialogue are key to making sure that employees have a good understanding of what options are open to them. Fundamentally people are averse to change, whether that is when ordering in their favourite restaurant (we all look to go off menu but then plump for our favourite dish anyway!) to moving jobs. If there is clear communication about what opportunities there are internally and that the business is open to creative solutions when retaining employees, there is a good chance that employee churn can be reduced. We appreciate the scale of the business means it isn’t the best example, however BT have minimal churn and fill 80% of their roles via internal moves. This keeps individuals engaged and refreshed and negates the need for them to look externally.

It is rare that anyone leaves their current company to move to a new organisation just for more money. When someone does move, the increase in salary could be seen as a signing on bonus or compensation in exchange for taking the risk to move to a new company. As we have covered the real reasons run a lot deeper than just money, with an increase in salary the sweetener or the “cherry on the top” to make the move more palatable.


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