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The Real Reason People Quit Their Jobs

Women at Work . / Credit: Women at work image via Shutterstock

While some might say they quit their job because they worked too many hours or didn't get paid enough, new research shows the real reason people are looking for new jobs is they feel underappreciated.

In surveys by the American Psychological Association, half of all employees who said they did not feel valued at work also said they intend to look for a new job in the next year.

Overall, the research showed employees who do feel valued are more likely to have better physical and mental health and higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation.

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,700 full- and part-time employees in the United States.

More than 90 percent of workers who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work, and 88 percent reported feeling engaged, the study found. That compared with just 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of those who don't feel respected in the office.

Overall, 21 percent of working Americans do not feel valued by their employers, according to the study.  A variety of factors is to blame; those surveyed cited having few opportunities for involvement in workplace decision-making, being dissatisfied with the potential for growth and advancement, having few opportunities to use flexible work arrangements, and feeling they were not receiving adequate compensation and non-monetary rewards.

[20 Ways to Jump Start Your Job Hunt]

The American Psychological Association planned to honor a number of businesses at its seventh annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., this weekend. The winners, which will be cited for creating a culture in which both employees and the organization can thrive, had a turnover rate averaging 11 percent last year, compared with the national average of 36 percent. Additionally, 78 percent of their employees said they would recommend their organization to others as a good place to work, and only 14 percent said they intended to seek employment elsewhere within the next year­, half of the national average.

"Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community," said David Ballard, head of the APA's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.  "Forward-thinking employers, such as our 2012 award winners, are taking steps to create a positive organizational culture where employees feel valued and, in turn, help drive bottom-line results." 

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based business and technology  writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.