The No. 1 reason people leave their jobs

by HCA14 Jun 2016

Companies can offer more money, training and development, recognition programs rewarding the right behaviours, and many other benefits. But there are better ways to help you retain your key talent. 

In Frazer Jones’ Asia-Pacific HR Salary Survey for 2016, we asked HR professionals across the region about what motivates them to perform and remain with their employers. The results specific to Australian employees make interesting reading.

HR professionals from multinational corporations, professional partnerships, as well as small to medium-sized organisations, told us what they valued most about their jobs, and there were two aspects of their work that scored much more strongly than anything else. 

The strongest response highlighted the importance of the relationship with their managers. It is interesting that in the ever-changing world we work in, the relationship people have with their direct managers still takes precedence over everything else. It has been said that people leave managers, not companies, and it would appear that in this age of increased flexible working options and technological advancements (meaning less face time with your manager!), the strength of this relationship is still the key factor in retaining staff. This is reflected in the conversations that I have with HR professionals on a regular basis.


The other response that ranked well above the rest was company culture. This does reflect how businesses have evolved and changed and perhaps how some businesses have been slower to change. People strongly value the culture of the companies they work in, and they are making conscious decisions to work for a business based on the culture it has created.

These two responses highlight the important role the HR community can play in retaining talented staff. 

While managers must be accountable for their leadership and communication style, HR can develop these skills in their leaders (and future leaders). With many people leaving companies because of the relationship they have with their managers, I believe this represents a commercially strong business case for investing in leadership training. Excellent leaders will keep excellent staff.  

Cultivating a culture can take time to successfully permeate through a business. The consensus from conversations I have with HR leaders is that this needs to start from the top, with senior leaders demonstrating the values, and role-modelling the behaviours expected of each employee. Our research demonstrates that this is a journey well worth taking if you want to retain your star performers.