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

Paid Wedding Leave – Not!

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Did you know employers in Spain are required to provide 15 days paid wedding leave to employees who are getting married? In Croatia, marriage is considered an “important personal need” and, therefore, qualifies for up to 7 day paid leave from work.[1]  This type of personal leave is also available in a number of African countries (including Libya, South Africa and Togo).[2] Wedding Ducks, Rystheguy, Wikimedia Commons Other countries in Europe and around the world provide varying amounts of paid leave for employees who are getting married, either in the form of specific wedding leave or as an …

3 Things That Make a Huge Difference to Employee Satisfaction

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The average time an employee stays at any one employer right now is 4.4 years. For Millennials, the number is expected to be half that.[1] In spite of tight job markets, employees who feel undervalued, who lack confidence in management or have poor relationships with colleagues and managers, leave. Current research suggests, if average tenure is to lengthen, the quality of the work experience will be the deciding factor. Employee Appreciation Cupcakes, Wikimedia Commons According to the 2012 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, compensation comes third on employees list of concerns. The CEB Quarterly Global …

How to Spot and Nurture Your Intrapreneurs

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Businesses are like people. They grow, they change, they spin-off into bigger spaces and they mature. When small companies become huge companies, they adopt a different attitude to risk and often take much longer to innovate and make decisions. These changes may range from subtle to extreme, but they come naturally with corporate maturity. Ashoka Intrapreneur by Wil Kristin, Flikr In the beginning, the shots are called by founders and entrepreneurs, with their eyes glued to immediacy and the opportunity. Over time, decisions are taken on by more cautious types, who see more merit in process and risk management. Even …

It’s All About Retention

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The most recent release of results from the ongoing National Study of Employers[1] identifies the following five trends between 2008 (in some cases 2005) and 2014. Trend #1: The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act has leveled the playing field—12 weeks has become the norm for leaves for childbirth, adoption, foster care placement, a serious personal medical condition or care of a child or spouse with a serious medical condition; at the same time, longer leaves are less available. Trend #2: Demographics are destiny, though legal and attitudinal shifts have an impact, too! Trend #3: Smaller employers are big leaders in providing flexibility and in not …

When is a Vacation Not a Vacation?

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The United States continues to be the only advanced economy in the world that does not require employers to provide any paid vacation[1]. Although an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act was submitted to congress in May, 2013 to try and change that [2], it was referred to a subcommittee for further study. Iconic photo of JFK on vacation, Public Domain Since paid vacation is not mandatory in the U.S., many workers (especially low wage workers) get little or none. In a competitive job environment, even those who are entitled to paid vacation, based on the specific terms of their …

Pet Friendly Workplaces

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One of the most popular items we posted on our blog lately happened to be the HR eCard about pet friendly workplaces. The card itself was mildly funny, but nothing spectacular. So what made this post so popular, we asked? Could it be that the topic of pet friendly workplaces was of particular interest to our readers? Just in case it was the topic and not the cute HR eCard that caught everyone’s attention, we thought we’d do this follow up article about pet (or more specifically dog) friendly workplaces.   Approximately 44% of Americans and 33% of …

Employee Turnover Reduction Strategies

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Originally posted to Boston.com as How to Curb Employee Turnover. There’s one statistic that hangs heavy over the head of every HR manager: employee churn. In January, Fast Company reported that men will hold an average of 11.4 jobs in their lifetimes and women will hold 10.7. Meanwhile, the median number of years a U.S. worker has been in his or her current job is just 4.4—a sharp decline from the 1970s and a far cry from the “company man” era. While it may be more likely that a business will lose employees, that doesn …

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