When Are Employees Most Likely to Quit?

When Are Employees Most Likely to Quit?

The Great Resignation isn’t over. Beginning in early 2021 and continuing today, millions upon millions of Americans have quit their jobs in pursuit of more satisfying work.

No organization has been untouched by this major employment trend. And now every organization is suffering from an ongoing labor shortage as countless legions of employees take their time in determining their next career steps.


Though the Great Resignation has demonstrated that workers can and will resign whenever they feel compelled to do so, research has found that in normal times, workers tend to quit during or after one of three periods in their career.

Employees Sometimes Quit Around Their Birthdays

Different people have different reactions to their birthday. While many relish the opportunity to be the center of attention and enjoy celebrating any occasion with cake and presents, plenty of others find themselves uncomfortable with the idea of becoming another year older.

Especially as age climbs, more and more people tend to develop complicated feelings toward their birthday. The birthday becomes an annual opportunity to reflect on one’s life, including one’s past and present choices. Importantly, employees tend to consider carefully their current level of satisfaction and the status of their dreams around the time of their birthdays.

As a result, birthdays often become a crisis point for employees. This can be a time when they decide whether or not they will quit or remain in their current role.

Some birthdays more often precipitate a larger number of resignations. For example, milestone birthdays like 30, 40, 50, and 65 tend to provoke more serious reflection. These milestones generate more intense desire and and even panic regarding people’s hopes and dreams.


So employers should put extra work into demonstrating their appreciation and connection to employees on the verge of celebrating birthdays. This isn’t to say that it is vital for organizations to host extravagant birthday parties.

Some acknowledgement of the occasion, like a decorated desk or a team lunch, can go a long way. However, it is much more important for workplaces to mark birthdays with recommitments to their workers.

Managers should schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss satisfaction with responsibilities, career ambitions, and more. Organizations might enroll employees in some kind of career development program or offer workers responsibilities they have asked for in the past. The goal is to demonstrate gratitude and support for workers while keeping them engaged through the crisis of the birthday period.

Work Anniversaries Evoke Self-Reflection

A work anniversary is the annual recognition of an employee’s first day on the job. Like a birthday, it is a rare occasion that deserves some kind of celebration.

And like a birthday, it typically involves some kind of intensive self-reflection from employees. This can lead some to decide to quit their jobs. In fact, work anniversaries tend to focus a worker’s rumination on their career. This can lead them to think about their dreams and passions and whether their current role makes them happy.

As with birthdays, business leaders need to participate in employee anniversary recognition carefully.

Usually, organizations schedule performance reviews around anniversaries. Therefore, leaders should take advantage of these opportunities to get to know employees better. Use these times to work with employees to develop career plans that are mutually beneficial. In other words, try to renew employees’ interest in their jobs and thwart any notions of quitting.

A work anniversary is an excellent occasion for offering access to an organization’s mentorship program, for example. Alternatively, provide a title change that might come with attractive responsibilities if not an increase in pay or perks.

Most importantly, managers need to listen to what individual employees want around the time of their anniversaries. This could prevent any sour feelings that might result in an employee quitting around this time.

Social Events Can Lead to Employees Deciding to Quit

Comparison is the thief of joy, as the saying goes. So when many employees are in social situations that cause them to compare themselves unfavorably with peers, they are incentivized to quit their current jobs. Nearly everyone wants to find something that provides them with more social cachet.

Events like weddings, school and family reunions, industry conferences, and more all but force workers to talk about their current roles and responsibilities. This in turn compels them to reflect on their current status and potentially consider changes they might make to gain more satisfaction from their work.


By no means should organizations strive to restrict employees’ participation in social events as a means of curtailing the reflection and comparison that can lead to resignation. Instead, business leaders should strive to develop strong personal connections with their team members.

Then, workers are more likely to come to their leaders with concerns about their current role instead of quitting their jobs. The organization can then develop solutions that will keep the employee happy and engaged for the long term.


The Great Resignation rages on. But even after it ends, employers need to face the fact that certain events will spur employees to quit. By identifying the most common times for resignations, businesses can develop strategies for keeping workers happy and engaged into the future.