Is this all there is to it?

Is this all there is to it?

Image by Franz P. Sauerteig from Pixabay

“Why Are Your Employees Actually Quitting? You Can Narrow It Down to 1 Reason
A basic understanding of human motivation, and what employees say they actually need will keep them from quitting.”

One reason? Only one reason for anyone who quits? Do tell.

“Leaders have been grappling with an important question for several decades: How do you keep your most valued employees from quitting? The answer isn’t earth-shattering but remains a hard lesson to learn. Simply put, people quit because their needs are not being met.”, Ibid.

With any article, the first question should always be: is this true?

Is it true that the #1 reason for anyone who quits is that their needs are not being met? Perhaps. To me, that sounds like a weird, fluffy away of avoiding a more pointed conversation. I’ve been in the job market every day for over a decade now and I have interviewed and interacted with tens of thousands of candidates. No one ever said, “I quit (or I want to quit) because my needs are not being met.” The issues they cited could be reduced down to that one statement, I suppose, but here are the top reasons I’ve heard ever since I started in recruitment:


  • My boss sucks / is a psycho / is a creep / is a micromanager.
  • The company sucks.
  • My job duties suck / are boring / are dangerous.
  • No upward mobility.
  • My pay sucks / is stagnant / is subpar for my qualifications.
  • Tired of commuting when I could be WFH.


So yes, we could say all of these boil down to needs not being met. But when we do that, we skirt the real problems, IMO. For example:


  • Why are these bosses psycho creeps and micromanagers? Why are they allowed to stay in management with high turnover rates of the workers they manage?
  • Why do companies with crappy cultures keep a crappy culture?
  • Why are salary bands not revised and updated more often?
  • Why do companies trap good workers into dead-end jobs and dead-end pay?
  • Why do companies demand RTO for people who’ve been productive at home?


If we reduce these issues down to “needs are not being met,” we don’t get into the nitty-gritty of WHY.

“According to a study of more than 18,000 frontline workers across 150 companies, lack of career growth is the No. 1 reason for turnover. While compensation is still important — it comes in at No. 2 — money alone doesn’t cut it. People are looking for meaningful work that helps them develop their skills and build a career path. Another study found that 49 percent of employees don’t feel like they’re getting enough training, coaching, or mentoring to advance their careers. On top of that, 50 percent of employees in that study said their careers have stalled or even regressed.”, Ibid.

No, money alone doesn’t cut it but you sure can’t pay the mortgage on hopes and dreams or the verbiage of your job title.

It’s interesting because I wanted to read the study which alleges that 49% of employees don’t feel like they’re getting enough training, etc., and came up with a 404 error. To me, this is kissing the edge of the “Gen Z is begging for RTO” propaganda we’ve seen before. All the training in the world (which is often useless and annoying, if you ask me) will not make up for: crappy pay, a bad manager, backstabby colleagues, and a terrible work environment.

“Recent research conducted by Julie Winkle Giulioni for her book Promotions Are So Yesterday: Redefine Career Development. Help Employees Thrive found that employees crave a variety of development opportunities. ‘Beyond, between, and besides the upward climb toward promotions and positions, there are many other ways employees want to grow,’ writes Giulioni.

When leaders are aware that employees are open to — and in fact desire — career development that goes beyond promotion, it opens the door to creative approaches like, for example, increasing roles and responsibilities that engage people both intellectually and emotionally.”, Ibid.

This is just my opinion and I could be wrong – to me, this sounds like: let’s dump more work on you. It happened to me plenty of times in the corporate world! Now that we know you’re capable of doing X, Y and Z, we’ll add those to your list of daily duties but won’t add in extra compensation for it.  At least, generally speaking, a formal promotion comes with a pay bump of some kind, too. However, if the company can convince you that you’re engaged in training and career development, which sound nice and fluffy, you can also be conned into doing more work for the same pay. See how that works?

To be clear – I haven’t read the book mentioned and I’m not in any way saying that’s what the author advocates for. My point is that Corpo America can, does, and will find ways of bending the rules and gaming the system. So even a good idea can get warped into something nefarious in the wrong hands.

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