What you can learn from post January payday resignations

According to new research by Crunch Accounting, over a third of Brits are thinking of leaving or likely to resign from their jobs post January payday. The findings suggest that this likely upturn in employee turnover for many businesses is down to New Year’s Resolutions and plans for a fresh start in 2018.

So, how did you do so far? Whether you’ve already experienced a sudden lift in employee turnover this year or want to prepare for post January payday leavers, we take a closer look at the research. Exploring the key factors people are consciously citing as a reason for moving on, alongside subconscious factors that we know are likely to have also influenced their decision to leave.

These resignations will not be spontaneous

Despite a potential link to New Year’s resolutions, the research did also find that people thinking about leaving or resigning post January payday this year will not be last-minute decisions. They explain:

Almost two-thirds of people have been contemplating giving notice for six months or longer, while a third (32%) admitted they have been toying with the idea for 12 months or more. Nearly three quarters (70%) of employees admitted they fantasise about quitting their job, with a quarter (26%) saying it’s a regular occurrence.

It’s important to take this in as employers, because it means you would have had plenty of chances to pull this back and prevent the employee leaving. It’s a sign there is an opportunity to not only improve the working lives of your employees but also improve employee retention. 

Top conscious factors cited as a reason for leaving

If you’ve ever resigned from a job then you will know just how resolved you are to the reason behind that decision. Unfortunately though, the real reason is far more deep rooted than that. Here are the highest ranked reasons cited in the Crunch Accounting research:

  • Bad bosses (46%)
  • A lack of career progression (36%)
  • Narrowly beat lousy pay (35%)
  • Stress (34%)
  • The commute (22%)

Do they have a bad boss? Bad pay? Terrible career progression? Probably. But is that the core reason they want to move on? Not entirely. If they had a sense of belonging, purpose and loyalty to the business there’s a chance these factors would be less important or an obstacle they would be willing to fight to overcome.

More often than not employees that change jobs every one to two years are simply looking for their ‘people’. They want to belong and feel valued.  Even if they are resolved to their reason for leaving in that exit interview, the only way to truly understand why your employees are unhappy in the workplace and moving on is to truly listen and look beyond their surface frustrations. Exploring the subconscious factors that are leading to employees being unhappy at work and actually diagnosing and fixing the problem.

Undiagnosed patterns: on to the next… and the next…

While it is perfectly reasonable to change job as part of a career progression, it is a huge waste of time and energy to do it because there are flaws in the workplace environment and culture. Not only will the employee moving on be frustrating for you and your business, it won’t necessarily make them happy or resolve the issues that led them to leave in the first place. Why? Because their next employer may have a different veneer – a novelty that will give them temporary relief – but again never actually diagnose or try to correct weaknesses in their overall working culture or review the subconscious chinks in the employees workplace armour.

The truth is that in everybody’s working life there are some elements that don’t work well. They may be to do with communication, knowledge sharing, training or resourcing, or they may be to do with recognition and integration into a working social group. Perhaps there’s a problem in their personal life that causes them to feel out of control in the workplace? Whatever it is, we know from hard data that there is a strong chance that it has not been diagnosed. Many of the things that have the potential to upset staff and make them want to move on are never discussed in most organisations. It’s an uncomfortable conversation for many and most importantly usually below the surface so neither employer or employee can truly see the issue in front of them. What a wasted opportunities for growth? 

How employers can make a real difference

Some circulation of staff is healthy. People can leave when they need a fresh challenge and new staff can in return bring in fresh ideas. However, this churn has a cost for both the employer and employee. New hires generally cost twice their salary to recruit and bring up to speed and that ex employee is undergoing an emotional cost. Going through yet another year or two of frustration as their underlying reason for being unhappy in the workplace is again gone undiagnosed. You can stop this cycle by digging deeper. Exploring what is happening beyond the obvious and using psychological intelligent questioning to do that. But most importantly addressing those issues and taking action, so employees can see that you are listening and rebuild loyalty and trust in your business. 

Get the hidden causes of staff upset and premature departure out into the open with a free trial of WeListen or download our whitepaper on employee retention for more insights.


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