Employee Retention - Keep Them, and Keep Them from Leaving

Employee retention is not just about giving employees reasons to stay, it's equally about removing the reasons that make them want to leave. Therefore, we must consider the motivating factors from both columns.

Let's look at some of the common reasons why employees continue to work for a company.

  1. They love/enjoy/find meaning in what they do. Simple as that!

  2. They see growth and opportunities for advancement and progress in both their personal and professional lives.

  3. The pay is (at least) commensurable to the work they do, AND there's indications of future increases.

  4. They enjoy working with their team and in their work environment.

  5. The job brings convenience to their life (work-life balance, benefits, easy commute, flexible schedule, autonomy, etc.).

And here are just some of the main reasons that drive employees away from their jobs (that aren't necessarily the exact opposite of the above reasons):

  1. Lack of strong relationships with leaders/bosses (often leads to lack of direction and goals, as well as lack of contribution and recognition).

  2. Stress from social work environment (not fitting in with the work culture, not having a "friend" they can be close with, dealing with harassment or discomfort caused by co-workers).

  3. Expectations of responsibilities are not met, or they weren't set properly. This may lead to stress from performance pressure, boredom from lack of challenges, or the pace being too slow for them.

  4. Lack of opportunities to fully utilize their strongest skills and abilities to contribute to the company's goals. Perhaps they're not in the right role or department.

  5. Not getting a chance to truly express themself. In other words, they're not being themself enough, they're a completely different person at work from who they are outside of work, AND no one at work really knows that they're much more than just the title on their desk.

These are some areas of strengths and weaknesses to look for when assessing your company's ability to retain employees. With these 10 reasons in mind, you can review your company's former employees and see if any of these reasons factored into their decisions to leave. And of course, look for indications of intentions to leave from current employees, and see if the motivation can be traced back to one of these reasons, and address them before you lose one more valuable employee!

What other indicators do you see in the workplace that often lead to turnovers? What are your favorite retention programs or ideas that you've seen in action?

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