Why do all the Greats go?

Just take a minute and think something through with me. Seriously. Stop trying to accomplish five other things while reading this. Imagine yourself in your workspace (whatever that may look like – an office, a shop on the farm, in your car or truck). Usually, we will naturally place ourselves as either the role of owner/boss or of the employee/specialist role and then think about how you feel doing that job. If you’re an owner, you are most likely very committed to the work and constantly thinking about it; if you’re the employee, you may have a wily mix of feelings - maybe you love the work but can’t stand that coworker next door, or you have a great team but are just barely able to keep your head above water with the massive workload. Perhaps if you’re the boss, you’re wondering how it’s possible that your company is thriving but for some reason, you keep losing your best people. Well, there’s a lot of reasons why the greats go, but we’re going to focus on what the market believes the primary causes for departure are within the recruiting world today.

Forbes has a really interesting article out that describes nine things that make good employees quit. To mention a few, they argue that thriving employees go, because:

  • They’re overworked.
  • Employers didn’t honor their commitments.
  • Employers didn’t recognize contributions and reward good work.

They mention some other reasons too around skills and creative suppression (potentially an interesting post for later!), but we’ll table those for now. In Morrison’s recruiting practice, we hear the reasons above all the time. We ask our clients why that key team member left or when we interview potential hires, we ask the reasons for being on the job hunt; and many times over, we’ll hear the same thing. They simply didn’t feel valued enough in their work place. They had been overworked and didn’t think their boss supported them in their career trajectory or ambitions. If you’re a boss, perhaps you’re throwing your hands in the air at this point. But we’ve found, whether you’re a boss or an employee, these little tips will go miles if you prioritize them:

  • To limit overworking, designate “closer” employees who lock up the office last at 5:30 (studies show an employee actually hurts the end product if they work over 55 hours/week). Set an example. Go home first. If that’s just not feasible right now, the workload better be serious enough to keep pay and benefits competitive. Not just another “busy season.”
  • Make fewer and better commitments, require reciprocity from the other person, and track both parties’ progress along the way.
  • Thank employees and their families for their many sacrifices made on the job. Write a handwritten letter recognizing their hard work and send a toy home for their child. Remind them that you know they have a family, an upcoming vacation, or that cute puppy at home. Thank them in small ways – hire an ice cream truck on Fridays or provide a monthly happy hour even if it’s just in the conference room over pizza and beers.

Morrison would gladly help you with your recruiting needs, but we also would love to see your great people stay and save you the headache and in some cases, heartache. If it means losing the work, that’s okay, because we’re ultimately in the business of building healthy organizations, and we’ll do that any way we can – which sometimes includes free consulting in a couple of blogs. Reach out to us if anything here particularly resonates or you want more ideas on how to keep your Greats from going.


We’ve worked with a wide variety of clients on a broad range of projects and are happy to discuss solutions that can best fit your needs.

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