Sales Recruitment Insights: Why people leave

Friday, February 3, 2017

It’s one of the first questions a recruiter will ask you: Why do you want to leave your current role?

I spoke with Jordan McKinlay from Saleslogic, a recruitment company in London, to hear the most common reasons he hears from people who’ve left or want to leave.

They’ve hit the glass ceiling and there is nowhere to go. ‘This is probably the number one reason we hear. A lot of people we speak to have simply done all they can at a company. Often companies will lose people simply because they don’t make it clear where that employee can go, there is no progression plan and people get despondent’.

Change in management. It’s often said that employees don’t leave companies, they leave teams and managers. Changes in management can cause people to start brushing up their CVs for a number of reasons. ‘They might have felt they deserved the promotion. The new manager doesn’t fit culturally or there is a lack of good communication.’ Nothing makes people quite as nervous as the words ‘company restructure’, often people can feel like they’ve been left in limbo and that it’s better to jump ship and swim rather than wait for it to sink.

Unrealistic Targets. The sales industry is a fickle place. One year you could smash all your targets and feel on top of the world, but the next, poor crops in Mexico and suddenly everyone’s tightening the purse strings. Each year targets change, often getting bigger, but they can often be unrealistic. Either the increase in target numbers is too large, or companies aren’t in tune to the industry climate. ‘No one wants to feel like they’ve been set up to fail- so they often leave before they do.’

Bored.  ‘Being unchallenged or bored at work is a common reason why people leave. People can feel bored for a number of reasons, they may have been in the role too long, it’s not as challenging as they expected or it’s just plain boring work’. The average working week in the UK is 43.6 hours. That’s 174.4 hours a month, and 2092.8 a year (not including commuting time which is on average an hour and a half) Now imagine spending that much time being unchallenged and feeling bored…

Culture. As stated above, you spend a lot of time at work, and thus a lot of time with your colleagues. Imagine working in an office where everyone is a football fan but you prefer rugby. Or you’re an eco-warrior and your company is a big contributor to waste or pollution. ‘When your values don’t match, it can make it harder to feel bonded to your colleagues or company, you are less likely to get enjoyment from coming to work, or feel encouraged to do more for the companies success.’

Money. Surprisingly, money was low on the list of top reasons people leave. For most, it’s a combination of one of the above and then the money that makes them want to leave.

What do you think managers need to do to help keep good people? ‘Probably to better understand what your employee wants to get out of the role. Be aware of what their glass ceiling is, be it real or perceived. Communicating clearly, honestly and frequently does help. It’s easy for companies to get swept up thinking about the work, rather than the workers- so as a manager or team lead, it’s important to keep people in focus. Though, sometimes I think people just need to move on.’

Do any of these reasons sound familiar? Here are some things Jordan suggests before you hand in that resignation letter.

Firstly, make sure your decision is based on more than emotions. Movies show us a rather dramatized version of quitting. Arguing with the boss, then yelling I quit and storming out, never to return again. This doesn’t work in the real world. Make sure you’ve made your decision based on facts, not feelings. Feelings are important, but they can sometimes lead us to make sudden decisions. Make sure that you are really ready to leave- and financially able to leave before finding something new.

If you can- start looking and secure something before you leave. ‘Often people underestimate how long it will take to find something new, and this happens even to great sales people, sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. When this happens often people just take something that’s not quite right out of need rather than want.’

Don’t ever burn your bridges. As LinkedIn proves, someone always knows someone who knows someone.

Make the most of your notice period.  If you’re still looking for something new, or in fact even if you’ve found a new job, make sure you LinkedIn or any other contacts are up to date. As mentioned above, you don’t want to burn any bridges or leave people in the dark, so contact the key people to let them know you’re moving on. Make life easier for your replacement and get things tidied and squared away- files, meetings, outstanding issues. You want to feel light and free on your last day, not scrambling to finish tasks.

Having doubts? Not sure if you should leave? It’s not uncommon for people to say they stayed in a role because of they loved the people they worked with. Ask yourself what is really important to you. What do you want to get out of your work or career? What are the goals you want to achieve and how can work help you fulfil them? Will the people you loved working with, in the job you hated, really help you further your career?

If you’re looking to make a career change, then get in touch with the Saleslogic team

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Saleslogic is a leading sales recruitment agency in London. We specialise in digital sales jobsSaaS sales jobssoftware sales jobs and more. Click here to view sales jobs we are currently recruiting for.