Why Your Company Is Like a Stinky Cigar

To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, sometimes a resignation is just a resignation. It’s true. There are occasions when people leave your company for benign and justifiable reasons: pursuing an opportunity one would be foolish to pass up; following one’s spouse for a new job in a faraway city; opting out of the workforce to care for a new baby or an elderly family member. It doesn’t matter how great the job is or how awesome your company is, they need to leave.

But more often than not, a resignation is an indictment on your company: on your managers, on your wages, on your work environment, on the job itself.

I know, right? How much does that suck to hear?

Consider the hourly worker who chases a quarter raise at a competitor employer down the road. That amounts to a whopping $520 extra a year. Yes, times are tight for people at the bottom and $500 probably means something. But if your job—if your company—was amazing, I bet they wouldn’t leave for 25 cents more an hour.

The same is true for your professional positions. Pay. Opportunity. Respect. Autonomy. These are common explanations for why people quit their jobs. If your company was awesome, even if you can’t offer competitive pay, if you offer people opportunity for advancement, you treat them with respect, and you give them autonomy in the work they do, they will stay with you for a long time.