What is the difference between a frustrated employee and an employee who is so unhappy that they actually start looking for a new job?
To find out more we conducted new, original research to look at what the key drivers of employees actually starting to look for a new job are.
We polled 500 employees across a wide variety of industries to understand:
Our survey gave one overwhelming answer – a lack of control.
This is part of a series of polls we have carried out. The previous ones can be found as follows:
As part of our research, we asked employees how often they left work feeling that things were under control.
The results are contained in the graphs below.
The link between how often an employee feels that their work is under control and how likely they are to be looking for a new job is direct.
The correlation between the two figures is over 90% for this graph.
By contrast, while happy employees do feel that their work is out of control, they don’t do so so often.
It would appear that when employees feel out of control for the majority of the time (3 days per week or more) then the stress that that generates will drive them to look for a new job.
Our finding is a piece of empirical evidence of a link between control and the intention of leaving a job.
Does this match with other findings?
The short answer is yes as there is strong research that links feelings of control with lower stress and higher resilience.
There is also well-established research linking increased stress levels with an increased intention to quit a job.
In the sections below we look further at the individual pieces of this chain.
People who have an internal locus of control. feel that they have agency and a degree of control over events in their life suffer less stress and anxiety than people with an external locus of control.
The difference in their way of perceiving events leads to different ways of reacting to events.
People experiencing the same challenging set of circumstances can deal with them pro-actively, seeing them as a chance to grow and develop, or passively, as another example of life being unfair. Some people view failure as a learning experience and part of life. Others view it as a catastrophe that they won’t be able to recover from.
Guess which one finds failure more stressful?!!
The link between stress and resilience is also very well established.
People who find life’s challenges less stressful are more resilient.
It doesn’t matter whether they naturally have a positive outlook or they use techniques to cultivate a positive mindset when things are hard, the result it the same. They are able to keep going when things are tough and find a way through their difficulties.
All jobs have their ups and downs. It is how people deal with them that is crucial.
People who find the downs very stressful are more likely to struggle psychologically and also far more likely to quit for obvious reasons.
Conversely, people who show good resilience can find ways to thrive despite the challenges they are facing are far less likely to quit conversely.
Although intuitively it makes sense that employees who consistently feel out of control are more likely to leave it is interesting to see how strong the correlation is.
Obviously, this link merits further work as this was a relatively small study.
Image Credit: Agni B