Any leader of a company or organization would tell you that retaining your best and brightest employees should always be a priority.

However, it might surprise you how many companies still get it wrong.

Today, we will talk about the top ten reasons why companies fail to keep their best talent.

We will address those reasons in detail and explain what can be done to reduce the risk of losing your best employees.


One of the top reasons employees leave their company is due to a lack of advancement in their career.

As a matter of fact, Penna, a global people management business, found that nearly two-thirds of employees state that a lack of career development is enough reason to start looking for a new job.

Moreover, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 93% of employees would gladly stay at their company if they invested in their career growth.

Working at the same job or position every day with no change in the routine or clear set path to a greater goal can become exhausting and make employees feel undervalued.

A huge part of the problem is that managers are not equipped to talk about advancement in the first place.

According to Penna, about 36% of managers reported not even knowing what their employees’ career goals were for the next 12 months.

However, effective conversations about career advancement is an acquired skill. It is a sensitive topic that should be handled with care.

So, expecting managers to have these conversations with employees without any preparation or training is bound to be unproductive.

On top of that, there is a huge gap between how employees and managers perceive career advancement conversations.

Oftentimes, managers thing they have the career conversations more than employees do.

Moreover, employees have found that those conversations rarely lead to a formal plan to address their advancement issues.

To solve this, managers must learn how to have effective career conversations:

  • Prepare by thinking about your employees’ performance, their future potential, and possible development opportunities
  • Build trust by establishing confidentiality and agreeing on objectives with employee
  • Allow you employee to share about their career aspirations. It is their future after all.
  • Make an action plan together, complete with viable goals and clear steps

For more about effective career conversations, check out this article by Antoinette Oglethorpe.


Nothing drives employees away faster than a lack of a coherent plan.

If you don’t have a plan or strategy, you are inviting a world of consequences into your business.

First and most importantly, your employee morale and relations will suffer.

If you do not have a set strategy, your employees do not have the guidelines they need to do their job properly and they may question their purpose in the company.

Additionally, without a set strategy, there is no real established order. In turn, employees do not know who to follow or report to.

This completely turns the organizational structure of your company upside down and fractures the communication channels be throughout the company.

Lastly, without a clear strategy, a company runs the risk of inefficiently allocating their resources.

This could easily result in a company bleeding their resources dry and finding themselves too short to handle critical payments, like payroll.

There are a few things you can do to prevent your company from going off the tracks due to a lack of vision. The first is to take the time to draw out your business plan.

When it comes to making you business plan, try to be completely clear and reasonable about your goals. You want to project your business in a way that it can be sustained over 3-5 years, including any changes in the industry.

Then, after you have a polished business plan on hand, share that plan with your employees.

Remember, even though strategic planning does happen at the top level of the business, those plans do not happen without your employees.

Effectively communicating your plans and goals with your employees helps them feel more involved and valued in the company.

It gives them something to work towards and reinvigorates their sense of purpose and trust in the company. Now, they have a bigger stake in the company and less reason to leave.

For more guidance on involving employees in strategic planning, check out this article.


Another reason employees tend to leave their current companies is due to the fact that they feel like they have no voice in the company.

Allowing them to have their say in a project helps them feel valued and more passionate about their work.

As a cycle of being unheard continues, employees go into “survival mode”. “Survival mode” refers to the uneasy attitude that employees take on when they are faced with a fast-paced, short-term tense work environment.

Instead of focusing on fostering healthy partnerships with coworkers and clients and embracing collaboration, the employees focus on simply surviving their workplace.

This can create an incredibly unhealthy workplace. You will find that employee engagement and relationships with colleagues will suffer.

Meetings will be difficult because employees will be more conditioned to try and make themselves look good than address and advance company initiatives.

This also suggests that employees will trust each other less. Ultimately, employees in survival mode become disenfranchised with the company.

When there is no fair opportunity to have a voice, employees feel undervalued and lose their will to work at all.

However, it does not have to be like this.

New internal communication tools are being implemented to better engage with employees and give them a voice in the company.

From establishing private networks for employees to share their thoughts and give feedback to programs for weekly reporting so everyone is on the same page, there are numerous tools to bridge that gap between employees and leadership to ensure that everyone’s initiatives and goals are in line with each other.

You will find it has many benefits in the long run. An engaged workforce provides a higher performance rate and a lower turnover rate.

This means that instead of employees leaving the company, you have employees who are giving maximum effort that results in higher profits.

Additionally, an engaged workforce provides a wealth of innovation.

Not only does this mean that your company will not go stagnant, this also means that the company could develop into something greater and more unique than before.

For more on how to provide employees with a voice and its benefits, check out this video.


Although this conversation is about employees, we have to address the impact of bad leadership.

According to Gallup, 70% of employee engagement is determined by the quality of the management. An effective leadership team is able to motivate their employees and unite them under common initiative.

Meanwhile, an ineffective leadership team can have several debilitating effects on its workforce.

For example, managers who micromanage can make their employees feel suffocated in the workplace. Having someone constantly looking over their shoulder and questioning their work can easily make an employee insecure about his position.

In turn, this can undermine the respect between employee and manager.

The very same can be said of managers who withhold information or fail to take responsibility for their mistakes. A leader who lacks integrity makes employees disengage and lose their passion.

It is important to recognize that leaders set the tone for how a workplace functions.

Not to mention, their behavior can easily pass on to other members of the workforce and create a cycle of negative actions and consequences.

Ultimately, this can erode the foundation and performance quality of a company.

This is why leadership training and leadership development programs are needed. They prevent these negative cycles from starting.


Job stress is a major killer of employee health and productivity.

According to a survey done by, out of almost 7,000 U.S. employees, 35% thought about leaving their jobs due to a stressful work environment. Meanwhile, 42% did actually leave because of a stressful workplace.

One of the primary reasons job stress occurs is due to unreasonable workloads. Nowadays, it seems like employees are under pressure to do more with less time.

When an employee lacks the resources to fulfill a certain job, they inevitably feel inadequate and unfulfilled in their position.

Yet, they work harder and harder everyday to fulfill their workload, which, in turn, only leaves them more exhausted and encourages this negative cycle to continue.

Another cause of job stress is a lack of home and work balance.

Ideally, an employee should be able to go home and see their family or have their personal time to recuperate and relax from a long day at work.

However, if a job has unreasonable hours and workloads, it may bleed into an employee’s home life and get in the way of their personal relationships. In turn, an employee’s home life can develop into an environment that is just as stressful as their work life. Now, an employee has no place to decompress.

As a result, an employee can develop health issues in response to stress, such as elevated blood pressure, coronary diseases, depression, burnout and anxiety disorders. However, it is not just the employee who is affected.

Workplace stress can also negatively impact company performance too.

This is why it is important to establish methods to avoid overworking your employees. Here are a few ideas:

  • Closely monitor workloads
  • Give consistent feedback and include appreciation and recognition
  • Encourage vacations and days off. Maybe offer half-days during the week.
  • Encourage remote, at-home work

For more tips on encouraging a happy and productive workplace, check out this video.


Like we mentioned before, employees are less likely to stick with a company where everyone is out for themselves.

If you really want a workplace that functions like a well-oiled machine, you need employees and managers that support each other and work well as a team.

Employees who do not get any support from their coworkers are likely to feel out of place in their company.

They feel insecure in the company and feel like they cannot trust anyone. Not only does this make them less productive, it also eventually drives them to leave.

An unsupportive management can also drive top-performing employees away. In many cases, people are actually quitting their managers and not the company.

As a matter of fact, Gallup reported that 50% of professionals reported quitting a job to get away from their bosses.

Maybe managers are playing favorites or are micromanaging and failing to take responsibility for their shortcomings. Whatever it is, poor management can make employees feel stuck.

They might feel like they are not offered many opportunities to learn and grow. They might also feel like they are not being fully recognized for their hard work. In turn, this can make employee performance plummet.

A great solution is to encourage open discussion with employees, where they can offer feedback without fear of negative reactions.

In order for employees to feel supported, they have to share and reflect on what they need from management and from one another.


Your corporate culture can also be a major factor in your ability to keep your employees. If you lack a strong and supportive company culture, you are essentially sabotaging the success of your company.

Some signs that you have a toxic company culture include poor teamwork, team members or employees feeling insecure and needing constant reassurance, and a general feeling of exhaustion or low-morale across the whole company.

It is a culture that sets unreachable standards for employees driving them to become cutthroat and competitive against one another.

Also, a toxic culture discourages innovation and locks employs into one method of practice that they are unable to question.

Lastly, in a toxic corporate culture, you will likely see a rise in microaggressions in the form of discrimination and bias.

All in all, a toxic corporate culture makes the workplace a suffocating, tense place that hinders progress and undermines employee’s trust and respect.

There are few ways to counteract a toxic work culture. First, prioritize environments that are positive and inspiring. To do this, try to encourage more input from employees.

Also, try to focus on recognizing employees for their accomplishments while motivating them through their responsibilities. If a manager shows positivity, it is likely to be picked up by their employees.

Essentially, managers should focus on leading by uplifting and motivating employees. This means that managers need to focus less on their own stress and stop bringing it into the workplace.

Instead, they need to focus on the concerns of their employees and strive to foster healthy relationships between colleagues.

Instead of encouraging a culture of silent, passive aggression against one another, encourage a culture of support and understanding.

For more ways to improve a toxic work environment, check out this TEDtalk.


While employees take leads from their management, they also take leads from their talented colleagues. In other words, watching a good, talented employees leave a company can often encourage other employees to leave and look for a better job.

Why is that exactly?

According to, employees are still social creatures, and if one employee encounters a problem or feels a certain way about the company, it is likely that the rest of the employees will feel it too.

Given time, the situation or shared feeling can manifest itself in more employees wanting to leave.

If one of your best and brightest employees decides to leave, you have to take a look as to why. Perhaps he or she was not receiving the recognition they deserve, or they had no options for upward advancement.

So once your talented employee sees that there is nothing there for them, they will leave for something better. In turn, other employees will perceive that if there was nothing to keep a talented employee, then what reason do they have to stay.

One of the simplest ways companies can keep their employees from leaving in waves is by creating a system of recognition and reward for their top performers.

This shows employees that they are valued. Moreover, it shows them that their hard work is not without reason or goal.

Recognizing hard work among top performers will only encourage other employees to work just as hard to reach the same level of competency.

As a result, you get a culture of high productivity and employees who are inspired to work and to innovate.

For more information on the value of employee recognition, check out this video.


If it wasn’t clear by now, one of the greatest mistakes a company can make is to think that their top performing employees do not need their attention.

Now, there is nothing wrong with autonomy, but employees can feel like they are still being underutilized.

According to, 85% of workers feel like they are not as efficient at work because they are underutilized.

It is important to note that it is not just about the volume of work you give the employer. Being underutilized can mean that their work is not really meaningful or stimulating to them anymore.

In a lot of cases, employees feel like they need a creative outlet or perhaps, they feel like they need an opportunity for growth. It is likely there are untapped skills and talents they are just dying to use.

Over time, the more underutilized an employee feels, the more likely they are to lose interest in their work. It might not lower the quality of their work, but it definitely kills their passion to go above and beyond.

A company ideally wants to keep that fire and passion of their employees alive. It is what drives innovation and growth in a company.

That being said, a company should make an effort to bridge that talent gap.

The most basic course of action you can take is to create a healthy conversation about utilization between managers and employees.

Here are some other tips you can try:

  • See if a full-time worker has the skills to be a contract worker to fill niche positions
  • Provide incentives for productivity and performance
  • Always keep an eye on what skills will be needed in the future
  • Keep track of analytics so you can place employees in jobs that aligns with their talents


At the core of any successful company is healthy communication. Poor communication can hinder efficiency, cause low morale and a lack of teamwork, which can put an entire company’s productivity at risk.

More specifically, a lack of communication between management and employees can have a huge impact.

If management cannot make themselves available to talk with employees, it shows management’s disregard for the employee’s concerns.

This makes an employee feel discouraged and like they have no support system in the company. In turn, the employee chooses to leave.

To counter this, there are a few solutions you can try to improve communication:

  • Set clear communication rules so everyone is on the same page
  • Foster healthy mediation for interpersonal conflicts between employees
  • Encourage weekly meetings to keep everyone in the loop

For more strategies on improving workplace communication, read this article.


Finding great talent for your company is one thing.

However, keeping them around is a whole new challenge. There are so many facets about a workplace culture that can either keep a talented employee or drive them away.

The reasons we listed above are some of the major aspects that you should pay attention to if you want to reduce your employee turnover rate.

We hope this article was helpful to you. Let us know if you have any thoughts!

Top Ten Reasons Why Large Companies Fail To Keep Their Best Talent

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