It can be one of the most frustrating parts of being a business leader. One of your best employees, someone you have groomed and developed into someone who is perfect for their position comes to you with a resignation notice. You are floored, surprised and probably a little hurt.20388273105_fd14a2e09f_m(2)

A recent article from the Harvard Business Review provides some great insights into not only the reasons why an employee quits, but also when they are most likely to do so.

The reasons an employee is most likely to quit have remained pretty standard for years:

  • Poor relationship with their boss
  • No clear path for advancement
  • Offered something better (better pay, better benefits, higher status, etc.)

New research suggests that moments in an employee’s life that are times of reflection such as work anniversaries or birthdays (particularly milestones like 40 or 50) cause an employee to consider how they are doing in their career.

Additionally, situations that force employees to compare how they are doing to their peers, such as class reunions, often push employees to explore what other job opportunities might be available. In fact, job hunting increases 16% after reunions.

If you think some of your key employees may have a wandering eye, ask them. Find out what is leading them to look outside the company and try to find ways to prevent them and other employees from walking out the door.

It is easy to react emotionally when an employee surprises you with a resignation notice. Understanding some of the situations that are most likely to cause employees to quit can help you to think logically in these stressful situations and even help you prevent them in the first place.

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