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Do you know how long the average employee stays with a company? With the hard-to-swallow cost of attrition, the average tenure is not nearly as long as you would hope. The current average is estimated right around 4 years for most employees, and closer to 3 years for employees under the age of 35. Year over year, these numbers are continuing to drop as job-hopping tendencies among employees are on the rise.

Let’s take a retrospective dive and look into the top reasons behind attrition:

Development Opportunities

It’s not a deep get-to-know-you game-changer, but next time you’re interviewing a candidate, dig into why they’re looking to leave their current position. Listen closely to what they say – without a doubt their response will tell you the number one thing they’re looking for the next time around. Ask this question enough and you’ll notice a trend, which is that more often than not people just want growth. They’re leaving because the opportunities either aren’t there or aren’t being fostered. Most people would be willing to leave for a new role that takes a step backward if they know there’s a better chance of moving forward in the long run.

Poor Management

We’ve all heard the saying, “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers”. We can nod along in agreement that strong leadership is the backbone to happy, loyal employees, but studies still show that as high as 75% of workers say that their boss played a role in the reason they left. Dive a level deeper and the more common feedback revolves specifically around their boss’s lack of empathy and respect, combined with feeling undervalued and unsupported.


Burnout is a tough hole to pull your employees out of, but it’s incredibly preventable. Running too lean or over utilizing your strongest employees is the quickest way to zap their passion, energy, and motivation. To make matters worse, the employee that you’re burning out is probably also the same type of employee who’s not likely to tell you that they’re being overworked until it’s too late. You know your top performers, you know the people putting in long days, the ones taking on the toughest projects. Check on them, check on their work-life balance, and then right the ship.


Building and maintaining a strong culture is similar to any healthy relationship. It’s ever-evolving, requires consistent maintenance, and truly can’t be taken for granted. Ironically, one of the biggest hits to company culture is attrition – which further feeds the reasoning that proactive prevention is key. People thrive and are drawn to positive environments where they can collaborate on a team that’s working towards a common goal. Again, like any healthy relationship, communication is key. Keep employees engaged and in the loop, talk to them about the big picture so they can stay focused on the vision, and put their feedback into action whenever possible.


It’s tough to retain employees if they’re struggling financially. Outside of financial struggles and personal needs, feeling undercompensated also ties directly to an employee perceiving their work as undervalued and unappreciated. Taking a holistic view of salary and benefits, it’s important for employees to know how their pay was determined, what the opportunities are to reach their compensation goals, and whether or not their expectations are feasible. Salary conversations can be touchy, but it’s all too common for employees to leave a job they love for a job that pays more.

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