#1 Reason People Are Leaving Their Jobs


November 9, 2021

As The Great Resignation rages on, let’s talk about why people are leaving. According to a recent study from Edelman, the #1 reason employees are leaving is a lack of fulfillment. The pandemic triggered a personal reckoning for many people, and for many people, their current work fell short of what they want it to be. With choice and flexibility at an all time high in the job market, they also have the opportunity to weigh how they feel about the work they do as much as the benefits they’ll receive.

So what does employee fulfillment mean? Is it possible to give your people a high sense of fulfillment, no matter what industry you’re in? Fulfillment is a topic Imperative has been studying and measuring since 2014, so let’s jump right in.

What Does Employee Fulfillment Mean?

Employee fulfillment is a state of being in which our psychological needs are met and we are driven primarily by intrinsic motivation. The feeling is biologically generated by two neurochemicals, oxytocin and dopamine, which the brain releases to help reward behaviors that are valued for our survival.

An extensive body of research shows that our brain chemistry motivates us in a number of positive ways. “We are wired to connect… and our feelings of belonging and connectedness are correlated with oxytocin levels in the brain,” says Dr. Britt Andreatta, author of Wired to Grow and Wired to Connect. “We are also hard-wired to grow and improve. Dopamine supplies the motivation.”

When these chemicals are present during the workday, employees will be far more than satisfied—they will thrive.

In fact, fulfilled employees plan to stay at their current employer nearly three years longer in total than their less fulfilled counterparts. (Source: CECP, Imperative, PwC’s Fulfillment at Work survey, November 2018.)

So What Drives Fulfillment?

Statistically, three main categories, working in harmony, drive fulfillment:

  1.  Relationships – A sense of belonging and connection to others

  2.  Impact – Progress towards goals we believe in

  3. Growth – Personal challenges that we overcome

While they each may ebb and flow, a strong sense of all three, Relationships, Impact and Growth, are what equate to employee fulfillment. In theory, these three categories aren’t earth shattering or profound. But in practice, it’s difficult to provide personalized support for each employee to achieve this and to maintain it, no matter what changes or global pandemic comes next.

How Do You Bring This To Life?

Here at Imperative, we’ve been studying employee fulfillment and championing fulfillment as a key metric vs. employee engagement since 2014. Our mission is to create a sense of fulfillment for every employee, at every company and our peer coaching platform was specifically designed for that purpose.

Based on years of research and expertise, Imperative matches peers across a company for regular guided coaching conversations to align their work with what fulfills them. Every two weeks, peers measure their fulfillment and are then guided through a personalized conversation that is scientifically engineered to be psychologically safe, positive, reflective, and energizing. Each peer leaves having made a specific commitment to align their work with what fulfills them before the next conversation.

In under three months on the Imperative platform, 62% of those at a high risk for turnover (due to low fulfillment) report a significant increase in their fulfillment. In addition to measurably impacting the #1 reason for turnover, our trailblazing clients like Zillow, Boston Scientific and Hasbro have experienced these results:

  • Deeper Connections—89% of connections created build a meaningful and sustained relationship
  • Personal Growth—78% of employees report peer coaching made them more successful
  • Holistic Wellbeing—Employees leave each conversation with 2.4X more positive emotions

Our mission at Imperative is to humanize work and make work more fulfilling for every person.  Let’s chat about how we can bring this to life for your company: hello@imperative.com

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