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Why Do People Quit Their Jobs, Exactly? The Entire Reason Can Be Summed Up in 1 Word

This is a feeling experienced by employees all over the world, and it can happen as fast as a few weeks into a new job.

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BY Marcel Schwantes - 10 Oct 2018

Why Do People Quit Their Jobs, Exactly? The Entire Reason Can Be Summed Up in 1 Word

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

It's like clockwork. People all over the world will go through a drawn-out interview process, vet each other for weeks to determine the right fit, then finally agree to terms. After you're hired, things look promising and there's a buzz of excitement in the air as you meet new coworkers and dive into a sexy project.

Then the honeymoon phase wears off and something you almost expect to happen at every job (a self-fulfilling prophecy), happens: your boss does something (or doesn't do something) that makes you question his integrity and whether he really gives a damn about you.

For the first time you have doubts and wonder if this is truly the same company or manager you signed on with at the start. From there, things spiral downward as you finally realize that you work for a person (or a group of people) that has no idea how to lead you, or others.

I'll leave the rest of that story for you to finish because it's a very personal one for many. The outcome could go on several different paths. One is to flat out quit.

The latest research on employee turnover.

Nothing to this day has changed since Gallup CEO Jim Clifton named the reason why people quit for what it truly is. He said this in the State of the American Workplace report:

The single biggest decision you make in your job--bigger than all the rest--is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits--nothing.

Employees--whatever job, level or industry--are willing to call it quits if their boss isn't holding up his or her end of the bargain. And quite honestly, that's a noble thing to do in order to avoid the health risks involved with working for a toxic manager.

At Randstad North America, Inc., researchers conducted a survey to nail down the top reasons why people quit. Here are some of the findings that caught my attention:

  • More than half (59 percent) feel their companies view profits or revenues as more important than how people are treated.
  • Sixty percent have left jobs, or are considering leaving, because they don't like their direct supervisors.
  • Fifty-three percent have left jobs, or considered leaving, because they believe their employers don't recruit or retain high-performing individuals.
  • Fifty-eight percent of workers agree their companies don't currently have enough growth opportunities for them to stay longer term.
  • Sixty-nine percent would be more satisfied if their employers better utilized their skills and abilities.
  • More than half (57 percent) say they need to leave their current companies in order to take their careers to the next level.

And as you can see, managers have direct influence over every one of these causes for quitting. So what gives?

Why people quit really boils down to 1 word.


As you review the reasons above, plain and simple, that is what causes employees to walk out the door--disrespect on the part of management. Want further proof? Carefully examine Randstad's study on all the practical reasons employees quit.

When employees are not respected or valued as workers and human beings, when they are not served well and developed as people and professionals, when obstacles aren't cleared from their paths so they can perform well, when their voices aren't heard or ignored, they experience disengagement for the first time, as early as weeks into a new job.

And when that begins to happen and doesn't change over time, you've lost them from the neck up. Once employees are no longer emotionally-committed to their work and have "checked out," you can bet your bottom line that they'll be updating their resumes.

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