5 reasons why your best talent quits

January 11, 2023
Ilse Roosens
Practice Lead - Young Talent

You need some new talent. And you want to give fresh graduates a chance to kick-start their career in your company. You spend valuable time and energy (and money) finding exactly the right person for the job. You sign the contract and head off to a great start. But before the first year is over your newest team member knocks on your door and tells you that he or she decided to move on. And you never saw it coming!

How does this happen?

From our personal experience with coaching over 300 young and promising talents, there are five common problems in organisations that make young professionals think about quitting. Remember, you don’t need all five to lose your top talent — one can be enough.

#1 No career prospects

Nobody likes the idea of being in a dead-end street in their career. Especially millennials, who are ambitious and like to take control.

High performers are usually aware of their talent and potential. And they are not going to let that talent go to waste. That’s why smart organisations take young talents’ career prospects seriously. They discuss their ambitions and interests and involve them in creating a long-term plan for their careers.

Does this mean you have to map out a new employee’s career in detail from the very beginning? Not really. It’s smarter to have regular talks over what would be the next logical step, thus helping his or her career ‘unfold’ over time.

#2 No attractive company culture

Most recent graduates wish to belong to something bigger, something in line with their values. In our experience, they are almost always looking for a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, a sense of humanity and a feeling of openness.

Another important factor is the ‘why’ of your company. Why do you do what you do? Graduates and young professionals nowadays do not view their work as a way of getting paid every month. They want to be part of something they can be proud of.

These aspects constitute your company culture. And if your organisation fails to have a strong culture, you risk alienating young talent and driving them away.

3. Not feeling recognised

Everybody likes to feel recognised. We’ve seen that young talent isn’t driven by money alone. Salary and benefits should match the standards. But think further than material rewards.

There are plenty of other ways to make your young talent feel recognised. A few ideas that we’ve seen work:

  • Let a team organise their own team event, paid for by the company
  • Create opportunities for employees to speak their minds about their work, and act on their input
  • Take your team out on an offsite abroad or a mini-vacation
  • Give people opportunities to lead a new project
  • Give people public recognition, e.g. in the company newsletter
  • And even simple words of appreciation

Remember that each individual has his or her own ‘buttons’ when it comes to feeling recognised. There is no one size fits all when it comes to giving recognition so always try to take individual preferences in account.

4. Bad people management

There’s a saying: “People don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers”. And indeed, how many times have you heard someone complain that they can’t stand their boss?

Management style does in fact have a huge influence on a worker’s appreciation of the job. This goes even more for young talent, because they still need to be guided and coached towards self-reliance.

So why does bad management exist? Simple: many organisations reward the best performers with a promotion to a management position, without considering their actual management skills. They become ‘spreadsheet managers’.

Leading people is a skill in its own right and requires training. Organisations that acknowledge this will see immediate improvements in employee turnover. Not to mention in the entire organisation’s performance.

5. Broken promises

Top talent is scarce. And sadly, we’ve seen organisations use questionable tactics to attract high potentials. They promise all the things millennials are looking for: personal and professional growth, fun events, a solid company culture, career prospects.

But when the honeymoon is over, the organisation doesn’t deliver. Like a sly salesman, they’ve talked the talent into signing and then never deliver on their promises. Or management just forgets. Or they decide to shift their priorities.

Don’t let this happen to you — it’s a horrible start of an employer-worker relationship and with platforms such as Glassdoor every potential new joiner will know about it as well.

What can you improve and how will you do it?

We have a challenge for you. Now that you’ve seen the five most important reasons why young talent quits, ask yourself: “Which is the number one reason why people quit in my company?” Becoming conscious of the problem is the first step to solving it.

Then ask yourself: “Is my company a ‘learning organisation’ that is able to change this habit for the better?” If the answer is yes, congratulations. You just made your first step towards getting your no.1 reason to quit out of the way, which will eventually make a huge difference.

Good luck!

About ProjectiveGroup

Change is more than an option; it has become a necessity. The key to a successful digital transformation is the ability to translate technology to the human measure & connection.

ProjectiveGroup covers all aspects of transformation in the financial services sector.  By combining the capabilities of expert companies, we have become an international end-to-end partner for those who want to excel in an ever-changing environment.

We shape businesses today to meet and exceed the challenges of tomorrow.


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