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Ade Olabode: 3 Simple Reasons Why Your Best Employees Leave



More Downloads-2Have you ever wondered why it seems you’re always losing your best employees? Of course change is constant. And it’s safe to assume that someday eventually an employee will move on to newer pastures. But what if you’re losing them because of factors within your control? Not a good feeling.

Yes, we all know it’s not easy as a small business owner to hire and retain the best employees, but trust me on this, it’s not as hard as you think, to keep them. As the wise saying goes, ‘Knowledge is power’, so below are the 3 simple and brief reasons that will likely make your best employees say Goodbye:

You don’t pay them market rates or a decent wage
In most countries, this will be an issue. But in Nigeria, this is THE issue. Sometimes, small business owners struggle to pay their staff a reasonable market wage. Or sometimes, because everyone is paying really low wages (i.e. market wages) but it’s hardly enough for anyone to live on, it becomes problematic. This in turn means that your employees are always on the lookout for a better paying job.

Let’s not forget that with the current economic conditions of fuel scarcity, FX restrictions etc. It’s almost criminal to expect anyone to work without getting paid. So to be clear, if you’re not paying well, expect that other employees who pay well will eventually get your best employees. It’s really that simple.

No clear path of Career Progression
It’s tempting to think that people only want to work for money. But the truth is people also decide to leave companies when they don’t see their career. Now you might say ‘well I’m only a small business, there’s little I can do’. Actually that’s not correct. You need to train your employees. This not only ensures that they’re effective at their job but also helps to understand your business.

If they don’t understand the business beyond what their day to day role/job, there’s no way they can see a future in it for them. Training is the best way to prepare them for promotions, take on more responsibility, learn new things etc.

You never say thanks or well done for a good job
Finally, learn to appreciate your best people. It doesn’t hurt you to show gratitude when they’ve done an excellent job or gone beyond the call of duty. I know it’s hard sometimes as Nigerians to thank people especially when they work for us. But remember sometimes people don’t leave jobs, they only leave horrible bosses. A horrible boss is one that doesn’t know how to say, ‘thank you.’

Do you feel I’m missing out any more obvious reasons? Or you have had different experiences? Please feel free to share in the comments so we can all learn.

P.S. On an unrelated note, last week I informed you that we’re excited to launch PrognoStore to our Nigerian customers. This is happening next week Wednesday  April 27th at Leadway Protea Hotel. I will be in town for the event and if you’re a small business owner (who also happens to read my columns here on Bellanaija), then I’ve got tickets for you. But you really need to hurry as there are only 6 slots available. Cheers!


Papa Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He's the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (, the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He's a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode


  1. Code

    April 21, 2016 at 10:45 am

    These and more are the reasons I resigned from my ‘bank’ job. The workplace harrassment became so much, my manager could insult you at any time. You can’t win because they will term it insurbordination. I am free now and I am sure I will get a placement soon.

    • Yori

      April 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Another more credible survey say 90% are leaving because if an evil or incompetent manager/supervisor.

  2. teesha

    April 21, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Well done Ade. These are are the major reasons why the BEST employees leave an organization. How I wish employers would read these and act on it.

  3. bebe

    April 21, 2016 at 11:42 am

    My sister worked for a firm, where the owners couldn’t provide her with the basics to do her work. They expected her to use her laptop to do their work for them, as if that wasn’t enough they didn’t believe in work-life balance. They could wake you up from sleep by 12 midnight to go and post on their facebook wall or twitter account, because they believe they own you. Let’s just say she wasn’t motivated, even though the salary was decent, she left soon after that. I have seen that same organisation advertise for her role, 3 times within the space of 1 year. All the people she met in the organization have all left.
    It’s really sad

  4. Will Warri IQ

    April 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    These are very valuable points and i will hold them tight. I believe i am lacking more in the area of training…. what better way to improve your business than train the people who work with you to perform better! What better way to be the best marketer of your brand if you can teach how it works to others, successfully and they understand it well. #Sense

  5. Yep

    April 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Lack of Work life balance and obnoxious bosses, I couldn’t agree more.

  6. Cookie

    April 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Bless you for this article Ade. I wish most employers would read this article and change for the better. Some employers are outright slave riders. They employ you and make themselves god over your life especially private businesses. Sad!

  7. Oma

    April 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    When i read articles like this, i feel deep gratitude for my job, and i know i did nothing to deserve it. Simply put, i have the best employer in the world! She would pass with distinctions if tested on these three points and many others. This is my first employment and i will be four years at it in September, and i am NOT looking elsewhere! it is a small business but i have over the years risen in ranks, earnings and knowledge. And the latest kindness from my boss: a one week an all expense paid trip to a city in Europe to celebrate my 3 years anniversary (i should have gone earlier, but dollar wahala, lol)
    I tell friends and family i do not think there is a kinder woman in the whole universe, and she is not religious. she is such an amazing, inspiring, generous and intelligent woman. She is not Nigerian sha but married to one.

  8. anonymous

    April 21, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    i once worked in a company where my line manager made my life very miserable to the point where i spent my salary buying things for her and she never paid me back. She was very quick to accuse me if anything wrong. Had to leave the company and it has since affected how i work, if i find myself in a toxic environment, i quit.

  9. Chika

    April 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

    For me I think its all about mentality. Nigerian bosses most especially private business owners are horrible. They feel because you work for them, they own you. I had a very bad experience recently as he is verbally abusive, he even insults you in public no matter who you are (I hate public embarrassment), always threatening with suspension or termination at the slightest opportunity. Initially, I was patient and hoped he would change. He became so hostile that I made up my mind and resigned. Now I am in a decent employment (Non Nigerian) and Iam so at peace.

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