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Should I stay or should I go – Why your employees have this doubt?

Your company provides good job conditions, possibilities of on-the-job training, team building measures and normal or above average salaries – but you still face big problems and severe consequences of employee fluctuation?

Maintaining a stable core workforce is a very valuable asset as the departure of employees causes also loss of knowledge and skills, the consequences for the company can go far beyond the costs of recruiting and integrating new employees. This can bring projects to a collapse and cause loss of relationships between colleagues and customers and disappearance of knowledge gained through long work experience.

Companies are currently trying to secure the loyalty of their workforce with an extensive arsenal of retention management weapons. However, instead of investing in a precise research to understand employee’s motives to leave or why they are willing to stay, most companies invest in additional perks or talent-scouting measures.

Figure 1: Iceberg-model

Often employees’ motives to leave are more profound than just salary issues or a promising career, as outlines by the Iceberg-model. As you can see, “Low wages” are just the peak of various motives of why people are leaving their jobs.

Another, even if very obvious, reason for employee fluctuation is a bad working atmosphere. This could concern a continuous dissatisfaction with the leadership, the management or HR conditions of a business, as well as internal differences between employees themselves.

According to a recent study also the colleagues’ relationships are an important reason for fluctuation. When employees were asked about the amount of appreciation and recognition that they get from their colleagues, the study noted, that those citing low levels of recognition were 11% more likely to search for a new job.

Some reasons also could be simple facts related to the workplace environment: bad light, insufficient technical office equipment, unappealing office interior or constantly noisy surroundings are not that motivation encouraging.

In times of economic and social upheaval, globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, recession and even natural disaster, job security can seem like a thing of the past. Today many employees have to cope with this constant uncertainty- a reason for dissatisfaction, stress and the loss of motivation – that closes the cycle of job dissatisfaction.

The relationship between job insecurity and job satisfaction is understandable because a job can provide numerous sources of satisfaction such as economic stability, social contacts, and self-efficacy. Researchers have shown that job insecurity arouses stronger emotional and physiological effects the longer it endures. That is, job insecurity acts as a stressor that intensifies over time when an acceptable resolution to the problem is not forthcoming. Therefore, it is not surprising that the influence of job insecurity will be manifested first on job satisfaction, which will then act as a mediator of subsequent long-term effects, in the worst case, causing the burnout syndrome.

There is also a link between job dissatisfaction, uncertainties and the last reason you can see in the mod “excssive demand, stress and pressure”.

Your work days start before 07:00am and go till the late evening and you still have your work, all the problems and issues in mind even at home? The fact of returning to work on the next day doesn’t let you sleep and this thought is part of your daily routine? This is a typical case of stress and pressure which might be caused by colleagues, your boss or the work itself. This situation will inevitably lead to job dissatisfaction and to the desire to quit the job.

Another, non-obvious, factor why your employees might quit their job is related to reasons regarding their private life and the “outside” of the business. An employee’s perception of new job opportunities is influenced by real changes in the job market and by self-imposed restrictions and personal criteria. Some employees refuse to quit their jobs, even if they are not really satisfied because they like the schools, the neighborhood and the quality of living in that particular location. These reasons not only strengthen the willingness to stay with their present organization but also to stay with any organization within the same school district or neighborhood. However, if the conditions of the outside of their workplace become worse the motivation to stay in the area is weakened, and, consequently, other job opportunities become relatively more attractive.

Also, outside the company, there are nonwork factors that directly affect employee fluctuation, such as financial responsibilities, family conditions, friendships, and community relations. Some employees stated that they never left their companies because they were born and reared in their present locale. Others stayed because their children went to the local school, couldn´t afford to quit, or had good friends at work. Many of these employees also reported low job satisfaction, but they stayed.

How to counterattack Employee Fluctuation

Very often also employers have a great stake in their employees’ job perception. To foster great performing employees isn’t a natural talent and in order to motivate and encourage the employees to work efficiently, be dedicated and stay at their work is obviously the most important job of an employer. Employers should communicate to their employees the importance of their jobs and how meaningful their work is for the whole business. The “We-Feeling” – the feeling of belonging to the whole business is important to keep the employees on track.

To have efficiently performing employees, it is vital to set specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistically high, time and resources bound goals. The employer should always be up-to-date on the ongoing processes and reward also the smallest of successes.

Zulla Consulting & Partners with its strategic foresight and multiple years of experience will support your business to prevent employee fluctuation by developing tailor-made solutions based on a wide series of methods and best practices identifying your employees´ and customers´ needs, challenges and real potential, as well as adapting your company to the new cultural and business environment.

For additional information and an initial consultation, feel free to contact Daniele Zulla at zulla@zulla-consulting.com.


  • Mitarbeiterfluktuation bekämpfen: Handlungsfelder der Personalentwicklung, Jörg Dehmel, 2015, Diplomica Verlag
  • Human Resource Management, Simon L. Albrech, 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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