Survey Finds Employees Burning Bridges as They Exit

November 7, 2006 ( - A national survey from Vault Inc. found 61% of workers exited on bad terms with an employer, and many did not leave peacefully.

SHRM reports that Vault’s Survey on Employee Exits revealed some volatile types of exits, which included:

  • Screaming matches – 42%,
  • Negative mass emails sent by employees on their way out – 24%,
  • Negative speeches at company meetings – 18%,
  • Vandalizing or stealing company property – 12%, and
  • Physical scuffles – 4%.

Nearly three-fourths (74%) of 706 US workers surveyed said their departure was attributable to disagreements with management, while 12% cited disputes with co-workers, SHRM reported. Fourteen percent left on bad terms because of their decision to leave for another job with little or no advance notice given to their employer.

Almost half (47%) who left on bad terms did not give notice in person, but called or e-mailed their manager. Nine percent said they did not give any notice, but just did not return to work anymore.

Other reasons given by survey respondents included poor treatment of employees, disputes over payment, supervisors or managers asking the employee to do something unethical or illegal, and employers not fulfilling promises made upon hiring.

Burning bridges seems to be contagious, as the survey found 52% of workers said a co-worker’s exit caused them or others to leave in the same way. According to SHRM, one respondent noted, “When a natural leader gets the shaft and can’t take it anymore, their decision to leave often impassions the desire of others to do the same.”