The 4 Biggest Employee Deal-Breakers Credit: FuzzBones/Shutterstock

What matters most to employees? Career advancement, work-life balance and money, according to a new study from human resources software provider BambooHR.

But the survey of more than 1,000 employees in the United States discovered something of a surprise. While most workers reported career advancement as the No. 1 reason for leaving their job, the biggest deal-breakers were related to work-life balance.

The study found four critical deal-breakers that affect employee happiness and retention. The biggest employee deal-breaker is having a boss that doesn’t trust or empower employees, followed by being expected to work or answer emails on sick days, on vacations or after work hours. Management "passing the buck" when things don't go as planned is third, and fourth is when work isn't flexible with regard to an employee's family responsibilities. [3 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance While Staying Connected ]

Women, according to the survey, are much more likely than men to consider work not being flexible about family responsibilities to be an employee deal-breaker, at 25 percent versus 12.5 percent, respectively.

When it comes to compensation, the study found that complaints about salary are commonly related to an employee's age, with employees ages 18 to 29 much more likely to complain about compensation. The survey found that those complaints steadily decline as employees get older.

So what does this mean for employers? While compensation is important to employees, the key to retaining employees is less about money and more about giving employees the opportunity to grow in their career, as well as respecting them and their need to enjoy their personal lives. 

Originally published on Business News Daily.