When it comes to why your employees leave for competitors, you don't have to remain in the dark.

Losing a good employee always hurts, but nothing stings like losing one to a competitor. Business owners can go mad trying to figure out why employees leave for rival companies. Are they getting more money? More advancement opportunity? Are they desperate to find a better boss?

There are steps you can take to answer all these questions. Here are five ways to conduct an analysis of your competitors to shed some light on why employees leave you for them.

Be a Job Hunter

It's easy to forget once you're the boss, but most employees always have their eyes open for the next opportunity. The easiest way to see what's available to your people is to always be looking yourself. Regularly check the careers sections of your competitors' websites and follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and any publically available industry-specific sites that contain job listings. Search for them on job boards like Indeed and Monster.

Though most job ads don't include salary numbers, by paying attention you can see how often they're hiring, what level of worker they're searching for and how many years of experience they require for each position. Taken together, that data can paint a surprisingly comprehensive picture of their talent status.

Subscribe to Your Industry's Trade Publications

Many business owners choose to ignore their industry's trade magazines because they're either too expensive or seem fixated only on the largest players. That may be true most of the year, but nearly all top-tier trade publications will run annual salary surveys and "best places to work" lists that are a treasure trove of data about your competitors and industry standards.

Open the Glassdoor

Glassdoor is like Yelp for employers. Any employee can write an anonymous review about their company, often complete with job titles and salaries. It's free to join and easy to use. The site can reveal what complaints or raves are common to your competitors' employees, and your own. Just be warned: When given anonymity, people tend to skew negative, and unhappy employees are more likely to leave comments on review sites than satisfied ones.

Follow Annual and Quarterly Reports

If your competitors are publicly owned, their public filings will contain some salary information and plenty of data about their overall well-being. And don't stop at the filings themselves. Keep an eye out for transcripts from quarterly earnings calls with the press, during which the CEO may reveal more about their company's direction than in the filings themselves.

Conduct Exit Interviews

A lot of the information you seek is already under your roof. Don't be afraid to conduct detailed exit interviews and analyze the data for trends. If your employees all cite similar reasons when leaving for competitors, you're halfway to a solution.

In the end, remember that losing the occasional employee to a rival is a natural part of business, and there's no way to stop your competitors from coming after your people. The good news? There's likely no way for them to stop you from doing it, too.

Tags: Employee Turnover