The key to employee retention is more than perks

by Brett Henebery10 Aug 2017
According to recruitment agency Robert Half, adequate career planning, incentives for top performers, and asking for feedback, are just a few recommendations for companies to motivate, develop and retain their staff.

The company’s research has found that 37% of Australian employees said better pay would be the most important factor which would prompt them to leave their current job.

Another 28% said a better work/life balance would be the major factor in the decision to change jobs, while 12% said further career development.

This was followed by an enhanced geographic location (8%), corporate culture (8%), and the relationship with the boss and/or colleagues (7%).

However, there are other effective ways to motivate and inspire staff, and most of them have to do with psychological rather than environmental factors.

According to Tristam Brown, chairman and CEO of LSA Global, creating strong goal alignment, building trust in senior leaders, developing effective management practices and making sure employees feel valued are key to retaining staff.

Brown told ATD that leaders are responsible for creating the work environment that brings out the very best in people.

“The most effective leaders I work with (and have worked for in the past) strive to constantly inspire higher levels of performance from their teams,” he said.

“Simultaneously they make every effort to retain their most important employees over the long-term. Motivating employees to put forth their best effort while building loyalty is perhaps a leader’s most difficult, and yet most rewarding, challenge.”

Brown said while the desire to get the most discretionary effort from a workforce has been the same for decades, today’s rate of organisational change – combined with increased job mobility and decreased company loyalty – makes this much more difficult and important.

LSA Global’s research on best places to work shows levels of disengagement range between 50-89%.

Brown says this is a problem for leaders whose success is dependent upon the success of their teams.

“Actively disengaged workers are up to 10 times more likely to underperform and look for other opportunities than more engaged staff,” he said.

However, employee engagement is far more than a simple retention issue, Brown pointed out.

Disengaged employees produce on average 12% lower profits, 19% lower operating income, and 28% lower earnings per share.

Alternately, while their engaged counterparts report 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction, and 51% less voluntary turnover.

The good news, says Brown, is that employee engagement can be measured and improved.

“If leaders take the following actions to improve employee engagement, business performance can improve dramatically,” he said.

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