One of the best ways to assess the quality of an organization is to look at those who are leaving it.

Many managers think it’s the other way around. They say the best way to tell is by looking at the people who are joining their team. “If good people are coming aboard, that’s proof that we are building strength, right?”


Attracting great talent has a lot to do with many things. These include the advertising done to get the attention of prospective employees, the place where the interview occurs, who is doing the interview (are they a good salesperson for the employer?) and the compensation package being offered. If an organization has a good brand reputation it’s even more likely to attract good people in the door.

But what really counts is the rate of employee churn. If a company can attract but not retain solid performers, I’ve found that it’s likely the company will be spending far too much on the wrong things. No company with high employee turnover is focused on doing the right things i.e.: satisfying their market.

2 new studies out of Canada have some interesting stats regarding why people leave their employers.

First and foremost: Blame the Boss.

The audits were conducted by Monster Canada. They covered over 5000 respondents. Because of the broad scope of Monster users, I think it’s likely to represent a fairly broad spectrum of levels and industries. And because of the similarities between countries, I’d expect it to be fairly consistent with findings done in the US.

Here’s the shorthand version of the results – 80% of the respondents blamed their boss for their decision to quit.Only 16% quit for reasons unrelated to the boss.

In greater detail, the reports said:

– 35% said they need expectations to be stated more clearly than is generally the case with their boss. (I believe that most people want to perform well be as effective as possible, but most supervisors don’t take the time to get to know their team members’ individual styles.)

– 32% claimed the boss didn’t treat people fairly. (My thought on this: others were treated unfairly well.)

– 28% reported that the boss ruled by intimidation. (My comment is don’t try this with Millennials or even GenX’ers and expect it to work more than a few times. Works for Boomers in most cases.)

– 27% said their boss should learn to admit when a mistake is made and not blame others.

– 22% noted that supervisors should become more accessible. (Common complaint across industries in my experience. Emails don’t replace face time.)

– 16% said the boss needs to listen to employees more.

I realize that no boss today has the time to do “everything right every time”. That said, it’s clear that the tables are turning because there are more jobs than job seekers in many communities currently. If you want – or expect – to retain the best talent in your shop; I suggest you take a good look in the mirror. Explanations and asking for understanding won’t keep good people.


Leadership Coach