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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

Employee Turnover: Thoughts on Leadership and Team Management

Photo by Marc Mueller:

When you start building stamina for your future business and leadership endeavors, you assume you’ve got it all figured out: You have a year-long investment plan, a great marketing campaign for the initial take-off, dazzling project strategies and a thing or two to consider when it comes to managing the team. But then it hits you: What about employee turnover?

It’s a concept many aspiring entrepreneurs dread. It’s already difficult and challenging to build a great team in the first place and employees starting to leave for good doesn’t make things much easier. It could indeed be troublesome – especially if you lack efficient coping mechanisms. But it doesn’t have to be this way forever – when it comes to employee turnover, there’s a lot that could be done and it all starts with why.

In today’s article, I’d like to investigate deeper into the subject of employee turnover by focusing on some of the most common reasons behind this behavior, as well as coming up with fruitful strategies that might decrease the turnover rate. If you’re a leader or a company CEO, I strongly recommend you check this piece out – I bet it would come in handy at some point.

Don’t Take It Personally, Take It Professionally

employee turnover
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Perhaps the very first thing aspiring entrepreneurs should learn (and that would save them unnecessary headaches from then on) is learning not to take employees leaving personally – after all, people come and go, looking for new opportunities, evolving and developing their skills and expertise. It’s not a good idea to mix emotions and personal feelings with business – sticking to the work environment and relationships is always the better idea.

However, the fact that you should not take it personally doesn’t mean you should also not take it professionally – if your business starts to lose team members fast and frequently, you need to definitely address the situation as soon as possible. High employee turnover rates are among the biggest and most important red flags that something’s off. If you decide to ignore the issue, it would certainly turn into a bigger problem – perhaps your remaining employees would witness your lack of attention and action and would reconsider staying in the company.

The good news is that taking notice once employee turnover becomes a thing raises your chances to investigate the underlying reason and solve the problem. That is, essentially, if you decide to stop for a moment and listen to what the employees have to say.

So before we get to actually discussing some of the most common reasons for employee turnover, you need to remember this: Not doing anything about it would just make the problem worse.

Here Are Some of the Most Common Reasons Behind High Employee Turnover

Before we delve right into the reasons, perhaps first we need to establish what exactly the employee turnover rate is: It’s the number of workers who chose to leave their job for a certain period of time. 

Now, as we’ve mentioned above, leaders and managers need to pay attention to how frequently this happens, as well as what are the main reasons employees give upon parting ways. But a quick disclaimer here: You also need to remember that sometimes upon quitting ex-employees choose not to disclose their true reasons – so it takes more effort than calling it quits once they leave.

Luckily, the most common reason for employee turnover is well-documented. Here are the very basics:

Toxic Work Environment

You may be surprised that the insufficient paychecks don’t make it at number one but here’s the thing: More and more employees share they cherish a positive and non-toxic work environment more than making the big bucks. 

It’s no surprise really – as we all spend the majority of our days at work, it’s only natural for people to desire thriving in a positive atmosphere. A toxic work environment may look like gossiping, lack of support, poor communication and virtually anything that may make the employees feel miserable at their work station.

No Room for Development

While climbing the professional hierarchy might not be for everybody, certainly, the majority of employees would love to thrive and develop their skills and expertise. Your job as an employer is to ensure everybody has room for growth and reaching new professional heights – this way your team would find meaning and purpose for their job and would put extra effort and motivation when it comes to executing their daily tasks.

Lack of Praise and Acknowledgment

Even the best workers need a word of praise and acknowledgment when it comes to their work and efforts. If you’re the type of manager who is scarce on positive feedback, this may soon result in high employee turnover. Your team would simply begin to lose motivation – so don’t spare a word of praise when one deserves it.

Too Much (Or Too Little) Management and Support

Yes, you’ve heard that right – excessive or non-existent management and support could equally be a reason for high employee turnover rates. 

Constant micromanagement could leave the employees the impression you don’t trust their judgment and don’t believe in their expertise. On the other hand, the complete lack of support and management could drain their energy and make them believe they are not valuable enough for your attention. The key here is communication – balancing between the two leadership approaches is the best strategy.

Lack of Bonuses and Raise

Among reasons such as fulfillment and development, we also work for money – if your employees are not paid as much as they deserve, they could quickly fall in despair and consider finding another company that values them in the financial aspect as well. 

Excessive Workload

If, all of a sudden, you begin to assign more and more tasks and duties to a single employee without granting them any help and assistance, they could quickly burn out and choose to leave for good. Don’t forget that you hire people for their specific expertise – the company’s high employee turnover rate is not a reason for you to assign ex-employees tasks to the ones who’ve chosen to stay.


As you can see, there are plenty of reasons behind the decision of your employees to part ways with the company. Fortunately, there’s a lot to be done – high employee turnover rates don’t mean the business is doomed; It just means you need to step up and become the manager that gets to the bottom of things and prevents this from happening in the future.

  • Encourage communication and honesty – a lot of work-related problems and issues can be easily resolved through communication. Engaging in an honest and friendly conversation is an incredible way for you to gain your employees’ trust and help them open up to you – once they’ve shared their concerns, you can now together work toward finding a solution.
  • Listen to what your employees have to say – once they open up, they would most likely share their troubles and feel instantly acknowledged and taken care of;
  • Then do something about it – regardless of the problem or issue, it’s your responsibility to address it properly and implement certain changes. If you take matters seriously, soon you’d witness keeping your employees happy and content.


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