Why engaged and committed employees leave

Arjen Swank

Engaged employees are more productive, make more effective use of resources, are less inclined to leave or look for jobs outside the company and take better care of customers. On a financial level, employee engagement has been linked to higher levels of profitability and business performance. Committed employees add value to the business through their determination, proactive support, relatively high productivity and an awareness of quality. They are also less likely to call in sick or to leave the organisation.

Why engaged and committed employees leave

Taking these factors into consideration, one can safely state that engaged and committed employees are invaluable to businesses. Unfortunately, as you can see below, they are not in great supply. With this scarcity in mind, and having established what people want from work we are able to identify what makes committed and engaged employees want to leave. This is crucial as this is the group of employees you want to keep!

The prevalence of engagement

Globally, 29% of employees are engaged in their work and committed to their organisation. The positive news for businesses around the world is that compared to 2014 levels, global engagement and commitment has risen by 3.7%.

The percentage of engaged and committed employees varies by region. Africa, North America and South America all reach levels of around 40%, whereas Asia, Europe and Oceania all fall somewhat below the global average.

There are however huge differences within the regions. The biggest extremes can be found at the lower end across Asia. In Japan just one in ten employees are engaged and committed. Across Singapore and Taiwan, engagement and commitment levels are less than 15%. Comparatively, 48% of employees in India and 41% of employees in Thailand are engaged and committed.

How to gather feedback from your employees

The step-by-step guide to creating your employee engagement survey.


Within Europe there are also noticeable differences. Employees in South Eastern Europe, especially in Bulgaria and Turkey, tend to be significantly more engaged and committed than the average. In comparison, engagement and commitment levels in France and Belgium fall someway below the average.

The five leading reasons why engaged an committed employees leave

Businesses can seldom afford to lose engaged and committed employees, especially when they are not in abundance. As such, it is valuable to discover why engaged and committed employees leave in order to be able to take appropriate measures.

We devoted part of the global study to investigate this and found the following are the five reasons are the most important factors in why such employees leave:

  1. Employees no longer fit in at the organisation
  2. Unclear about what work should be done in order to perform in their role
  3. Lack of chances to develop within field of expertise
  4. Work is too physically demanding
  5. Unable to work efficiently

How businesses can help keep retain engaged and committed employees

There are five leading reasons why engaged and committed leave. The following offers advice on how businesses can help prevent these causes:

Ensuring employees fit in by creating shared experiences among employees. This reinforces a feeling of belonging and commitment. Some of the most effective activities are personal or intimate meetings, as well as company-wide events.

Clarifying what employees need to do at work. At least once a year, discuss what the team’s various roles and duties are that need to be carried out and who does what. This will make it clear to everyone who is meant to perform which tasks and which tasks are unclear or as of yet undefined.

Take time on a regular basis to discuss employees’ development needs and available options. Then turn those discussions into captivating plans and action.

Helping employees physically manage their work. Make sure managers regularly check how their employees are doing physically. Does the workplace still meet the requirements of a modern workspace? Do employees find their too work physically demanding? If so, what is the reason and how can it be resolved?

Putting an end to unnecessary meetings. Help create efficient meetings by:

  • Always ensuring the agenda is specific and that expectations are clear
  • Send the agenda to everyone before a meeting; including any items that need preparation
  • Avoid protracted updates and introductions (this can be done beforehand by email)
  • Keep an eye on speaking time and relevance
  • Round off meeting with agreed actions & follow-up