Why People Leave Organizations

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Countless money and thinking have gone into determining what makes people decide to stay or leave an organization. The factors that are most commonly stated are working environment, work pressure, low salary, difficult managers and discrimination. While all of these are certainly contributory factors to a decision to leave, in my opinion, the underlying factor is much more basic; something that is not immediately apparent.

As human beings, we all have a moral compass, a GPS for our minds and souls and this is in the form of our Core Values. Whenever an incident or person steps on our Core Values, we tend to react negatively. Even the actions we do in our day-to-day life are dictated by our Core Values. So, for example, whether you feel pity or irritation when you see someone begging on the street, is determined by what your values are. In this case, if your core value is compassion, you would probably feel pity whereas you may feel mildly irritated if your core value is one of self-help or independence.

It is no different when it comes to our workplaces. Just as all of us have our individual Core Values, organizations have their values too. Usually, this is in the form of their Vision or Mission statements or it could be just the culture or way of working that is prevalent within the organization; what people generally refer to as the “working environment”.  It’s the clash between an organization’s values and the Core Values of its employees that causes people to say that “ the working atmosphere in my office is toxic” or “I don’t like the culture in my company“. At the same time when this happens, the organization often thinks that this is a problem with the particular employee and then the employee’s ‘attitude’ is brought into question.

If this gap between the respective values keeps widening, there comes a time when either of the two has to take a decision not to continue with each other. The result is either the employee quitting on their own or being terminated by the organization.

Thus, we see that the real reason organizations and its employees decide to part ways is rooted in the incongruent values that they each hold and the resultant clash between them. Knowing what core values are held sacrosanct by an organization will help employees to understand better what the organization expects from them and similarly by encouraging and creating a space within the company where employees could express their thoughts freely without being judged goes a long way in creating an atmosphere of trust and belonging.

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