Employee Retention Secret Sauce

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Employees leave for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:

 Engaged employees stay longer
  • Inadequate current compensation (or better compensation elsewhere).
  • Limited opportunity for advancement.
  • Feeling undervalued.
  • A poor relationship with immediate supervisor or manager.
  • Lack of organizational support.

We’ve all heard the comment “people don’t quit companies, they quit managers.” It turns out that’s not the whole story. While the relationship with an immediate supervisor is highly influential, studies have found that perceived organizational support can actually mitigate the impact of a bad manager when it comes to employee retention.[1]

In other words, the organization as a whole holds the secret sauce to employee retention.

Engaged Employees Don’t Leave

Committed and engaged employees stay longer. Of course, having a great relationship with an immediate supervisor or manager contributes to employee satisfaction and engagement, but that relationship alone won’t stop people from leaving (or from staying and mentally checking out!) Even when employees have a good relationship with their manager, competitive compensation and plenty of room for advancement—they will still leave if they don’t believe in the organization’s leadership, can’t be proud of the company, or feel unvalued and unsupported by the organization.

Being an Employer People Don’t Leave

Keeping employees longer is less about who you hire and more about becoming an employer people choose to stay with. Appropriate compensation and room for professional growth are table stakes in the competition for talent. Beyond that, being an employer people don’t leave comes from cultivating the right stuff: designing prime organizational DNA and making sure it’s expressed consistently throughout the company.

When it comes to employee retention, the “right stuff” includes:  

  • Being a company people are proud to work for.
  • Providing a clear vision and mission and communicating how each employee contributes to their achievement.
  • Stating and living the organization’s core values at all levels and hiring only people who are committed to those values.
  • Training managers well to make sure your people are supported by the best possible management team.
  • Providing the training, tools and resources people need to excel at their jobs and grow into promotions.
  • Sharing information about the company, strategy and future plans.
  • Encouraging open feedback and embracing continuous improvement at all levels so employees see their contributions being acted on.
  • Recognizing and rewarding people for behaviors and contributions that are consistent with organizational values.
  • Cultivating a culture of trust.

Why Employees Stay

Employee retention has always been important for a variety of reasons. Employers’ desire to understand why employees leave has even led to the emergence of an industry in outsourced exit interviews. But companies who excel at reducing turnover know why employees stay is even more important. Part of being a company people are proud to work for and an employer people don’t leave is understanding why people stay.

Instead of conducting exit interviews when it’s too late to make a difference, consider conducting periodic “stay interviews.” During these one-on-one conversations, ask employees why they stay, what they like about their jobs, and what you could do to make things even better. Now that’s some employee retention secret sauce!  


NetSuite TribeHR can help you be the kind of employer people don’t leave!  Start your free trial today

[1]Perceived Supervisor Support: Contributions to Perceived Organizational Support and Employee Retention http://www.psychology.uh.edu/faculty/eisenberger/files/02_perceived_supervisor_support.pdf

The Surprising Thing About Accommodation

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In the United States, for all age groups, the employment-population ratio for persons with a disability is less than half that of those with no disability.[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr Employers often hesitate to hire disabled individuals and can be challenged by the need to accommodate employees who develop a disability while employed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires any employer with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment that enables a person with a disability …

CSR: Doing Good is Not Enough

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When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), doing good is not enough—one must also be seen to be doing good. Awareness is essential and perception is everything. For most people, the default expectation of corporations is that they are motivated by profit, often at the expense of all else. When Google founders included “You can make money without doing evil.” in their list of 10 Things We Know to Be True, they were deliberately swimming against the current of popular opinion. SuiteImpact Team in action, Flickr In the past fifteen years a series of corporate ethical …

Excessive Business Travel is Unhealthy

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Anyone who travels extensively for work knows it can be hard to stay healthy on the road (or in the air). Some of the factors that can erode the well-being of travelling employees include: Photo by Jessica Spengler, Flickr The contained environment on flights that efficiently recirculates virus-laden air. Too much sitting (whether driving or flying). Unhealthy food. Increased alcohol consumption at business functions. The stress associated with travel and being away from home. Breaks in regular fitness routines making it hard to maintain good habits. Exposure to unfamiliar health and safety risks. While business travel has been around since …

Centralized Versus Decentralized HR

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For companies with multiple, geographically distributed locations, deciding whether or not to centralize HR is a decision with broad operational and strategic implications. A centralized approach enables an organization to streamline departmental functions across a complex system. It also ensures that HR policies are applied consistently and that information is managed in a unified way. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain On the other hand, different locations are typically subject to distinct human resources regulatory and payroll tax environments, not to mention unique recruiting cultures; which lends weight to the argument for decentralization.   Multi-location companies that have grown through acquisition typically …

A Tale of Two Thanksgivings

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Pumpkins by stevenW6, Flickr Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada – seven weeks earlier than American Thanksgiving, and way too soon to be considered a logical extension of the holiday shopping season. No doubt our hasty celebration of Thanksgiving has something to do with the shorter growing season and earlier harvest provided by our more northerly latitude. Proclaimed by Parliament in 1879 as "a day of General Thanksgiving,” the celebration was not tied to the second Monday in October until 1957. The origins of Thanksgiving in Canada are variously credited to Martin Frobisher, who gave thanks for the well-being of …

What Happened to Work Ethic?

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Last week, I was chatting with a friend who runs a small business. Since I’m always interested in (and writing about) HR, I asked him to share his most significant HR challenges as a small business owner. He gave me a look—followed by what could only be described as a rant (which I can’t comfortably document in a public medium!). After this lengthy vent, he settled on the following two challenges: Strong Work Ethic by regan76, Flickr Finding people with a work ethic. Finding people who are flexible and able to continually learn new …

Keeping Remote Workers Motivated

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The trend toward telecommuting shows no signs of slowing down. Between 2005 and 2013, the number of remote workers grew by nearly 80%.[1] The numbers show that 50 million workers in the U.S alone could (and want to) work remotely.[2] As this data demonstrates, people who work remotely are often involved in the decision to do so. In fact, many remote workers specifically seek out roles that allowed them the flexibility to work outside the office. When asked, 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time.[3] Working in Isolation In spite of this …

Continuously Improving Onboarding

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Cooperation by Marina del Castell, Flickr Onboarding is a critical component in the successful integration of new hires and can have a great impact on employee satisfaction and retention. For that reason, we prioritize it at TribeHR and have developed a continuous improvement approach to onboarding that is everyone’s responsibility. In a previous blog post I referenced this process as follows: Since we also ask new hires to identify something they can improve in the on-boarding process within the first 30 days (and then improve it), everyone is collectively invested in enhancing the on-boarding experience for new hires. This …

Who is the Customer?

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Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Many organizations place exceptional customer service at the heart of their mission. Sometimes, this focus on service is the primary element of their brand that sets them apart from the competition. For these companies, customer service is “mission critical.” But who, exactly, is the customer? Typically, a customer is thought of as the client, buyer, or purchaser of an organization’s products or services. For companies who identify customer service as a key differentiator in the marketplace, however, this perspective leaves too much to chance. Every employee who deals directly with these external …

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The Latest from Workplace Tribes
Employee Retention Secret Sauce October 24, 2014
The Surprising Thing About Accommodation October 22, 2014
CSR: Doing Good is Not Enough October 20, 2014
Excessive Business Travel is Unhealthy October 17, 2014
Centralized Versus Decentralized HR October 15, 2014
A Tale of Two Thanksgivings October 13, 2014
What Happened to Work Ethic? October 10, 2014
Keeping Remote Workers Motivated October 08, 2014
Continuously Improving Onboarding October 06, 2014
Who is the Customer? October 03, 2014