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min read

Why your employees are leaving (and what you can do about it)

Written by
David Whitfield
Why your employees are leaving (and what you can do about it)

Staff turnover is at an all-time high in the UK - currently sitting at a whopping 35%. 

Almost 30% of those employees are choosing to move to another employer, while only 8% are not working due to study, retirement, or a career break. 

In stark contrast, a report by Gallup suggests that a health turnover should be sitting at around 10%. 

So, is the ‘Great Resignation’ we’ve experienced over the last few years here to stay? 

And if so, how do HR teams address this issue? Especially when reports show that almost 25% of UK workers expect to change jobs in the next year. 

To learn how to reduce employee turnover, you first need to understand why they’re leaving. 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common causes of employee turnover in the UK and offer some tips on how to reduce it.

Why are UK Employees Leaving their Jobs? 

According to US psychologist Frederick Herzberg, there are two key factors in the workplace that enhance employee retention or hinder it - hygiene factors and motivating factors.

  • Hygiene - certain needs to be met for employee satisfaction, such as pay, working relationships, culture, and security.

  • Motivating - depends on specific job conditions, like growth opportunities, PD opportunities, career progression, and recognition.

Hygiene factors are essential. If these aren’t met, then even with the best motivating factors, your people will leave.

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors in why employees leave UK jobs and some potential solutions to address retention challenges.

Poor Leadership 

Poor leadership is a significant contributing factor to employee retention.

A few years ago Gallup conducted a poll of around one million workers that produced a clear and uncomfortable insight. Around 75% of people leave employment because of how they’re managed. 

In contrast, developing exceptional leaders helps not only to attract, but also retain talent. 


  • Open and transparent communication: The best leaders share openly, build trust and promote a sense of belonging and inclusion with their employees that makes them want to stay with an organisation.
  • Positive outlook: A great leader looks for the positives, celebrates success, learns from mistakes and failures, and inspires their team - boosting employee engagement.
  • Competence: Leaders need more than the right personable skills, like good judgement, high emotional intelligence, and the ability to inspire. They also need the technical expertise their job demands in their chosen field so people feel confident in their abilities to lead from experience. 
  • Conviction: When a leader operates with genuine conviction and inspires the support of their team it can drive loyalty, creating a supportive culture where people will believe in their leaders. 

Pay and Benefits 

Fair compensation is by far one of the most important factors in retaining employees. 

With many people struggling with the cost of living, paying people fairly and using salary as a retention tool will help reduce staff turnover. 

Reports from 2022 indicated that UK workers needed an 8% pay rise to beat the living standards crunch - and it’s not gotten any better since then. 

People want to be paid what they’re worth and be able to afford the cost of living where they live

While you don’t want to overpay, you do need to ensure you’re paying your people fairly and competitively - to retain your top talent, maintain productivity levels, and keep recruitment costs down.


  • Benchmark your salaries: Ensure you’re paying your employees fairly by using salary benchmarking solutions and tools that offer real-time data comparisons.
  • Consider rising inflation: Regularly adjust salary scales to account for inflation.
  • Monitor for role changes: Check that you’re paying people according to their experience level, particularly as they take on more responsibility or their role changes over time.
  • Assess your employee benefits: If you’re struggling to increase salary levels, are there other ways you can help take the strain off your employee’s cost of living? Discounted car rentals, food, mobile phone services, travel costs, and more can all be attractive to employees.

Workplace Culture 

Around 20% of current UK employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs. 

Despite the evidence demonstrating how important a supportive culture is to workplace morale, a recent study showed that around two-thirds of employees said that good company culture was one of the major reasons they stayed with an organisation. 

Building a culture where employees feel respected and supported matters.


  • Create a strong emphasis on teamwork and collaboration: Encourage collaboration within teams and across teams to help boost employee engagement.
  • Seek feedback: Don’t assume to know what your employees think about your workplace culture. Ask and use their insights to help make improvements. 
  • Tailor your approach: Realise that every workplace is different and requires a unique approach. What works for one business may not work for another.
  • Give your employees a voice: Introduce ways for employees to contribute their opinions safely. Follow up on their ideas to show them their opinions matter. 
  • Recognise your employees: Publicly acknowledging your team's contributions can help increase connection and leave employees feeling more satisfied at work

Work-life Balance 

Since Covid-19, with so many of us working remotely and blurring the lines between work and home, there has been an increased focus on the importance of work-life balance. And the impact that this can have on stress levels, burnout and mental and physical health and wellbeing. 

A recent study indicated that there’s a greater focus on work-life balance than salary for some than pre-Covid times. And for companies who are helping their people find the balance, it’s leading to higher levels of employee engagement that is positively impacting their bottom line.


  • Encourage time off: View annual leave as a necessity that your employees need to switch off, recuperate and recharge. So your team can come back to work refreshed and ready to perform.
  • Prioritise mental health and wellness:  Encouraging your people to take breaks and prioritise fitness can also help reduce stress and promote a positive work environment.
  • Lead by example: Leaders can set and model boundaries of work and home hours so employees feel they don’t always have to be available outside standard work hours.
  • Ask your team for guidance: If you’re stuck for ideas about how best to invest in employee wellbeing, ask your people. Find out what changes they think will help to improve their situation.
  • Promote a healthy work-life balance: Offer flexible working hours and days to promote balance for your employees. Adaptable work environments can help build more resilient teams.

How to Create a Retention Strategy 

Every business is unique, so some of the reasons outlined above may or may not apply to your workplace. The key is finding out which ones do and building your own retention strategy specifically designed for your business.

Whether it’s competitive pay, wellness offerings, professional development or other perks, discover what is most beneficial to your people. 

It may be unrealistic to offer everything each employee needs, but if you choose a few strategies to focus on, you can start working towards improving your employee retention. 

Using Data Insights to Boost Retention

At HR DataHub, we offer our customers access to real-time UK job market data with our salary benchmarking platform. These insights help you make the right pay decisions to retain your people. 

You can easily benchmark against competitors to ensure what you’re paying is competitive - to reduce the risk of losing your top talent based on salary alone. 

You can also compare any job title throughout the UK, including niche markets and locations that might be difficult to source elsewhere. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can support your retention strategy, contact us today.