In all of my research on employee retention and motivation, I have found one thing to be true: People join people, not companies.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, employees may be attracted to a major brand, but it isn’t the brand that keeps them. Whether it’s as a consumer or as an employee, people may trust the brand enough to try them out, but if the brand violates their expectations, they will quickly leave for another experience.
So why do employees stay at their current company?
There are five major reasons that we have found employees choose to stick it out at their current employer.
1. Character - They believe in the mission of the organization and trust the character of the leadership.
Mission matters. Especially to the next generation. We have found that organizations that have clearly labeled missions that connect with the passions of their employees lose the least.
Now this does not mean you are bound to lose employees forever unless you become a non-profit organization. In fact, many non-profits we work with have the highest employee turnover. Every organization has a mission. When the leaders forget how to involve their employees in the mission they inevitably see a rise in turnover and disengagement.
2. Clarity - They understand where their career is going and see this opportunity as a crucial step in their growth.
Tony Robbins is famed for saying that there are two desires of man: the need for certainty and the need for uncertainty.
Clarity of direction is essential for anyone, no matter their status on the career ladder. Most organizations take for granted how committed their current employees are and assume they will be there forever. Unfortunately, many learn too soon that members of their organization need clarity on 1) their personal career path, and 2) the direction of the organization.
When organizations begin to make major changes and don't inform their employees about what's next-whether it is changing processes or changing offices-they inevitably see a rise in voluntary turnover.
3. Compensation - They feel their efforts are recognized and rewarded appropriately.
Yes, money matters. It's not just what money can buy that keeps employees around. It's what money represents that inspires them to stay. When you are not being compensated fairly, you start to feel unappreciated. That feeling of not being appreciated then turns into a leviathan of nastiness including bitterness, regret and distrust.
Compensation is the easiest way to show appreciation to your employees. Yet, it is often the least likely to be used to keep an employee longer.
4. Commitment - They believe their presence in the organization is necessary for everyone’s success. This is where effective team dynamics matter most.
It's hard to walk away when you know just how badly you are needed.
Organizations that clearly communicate to their employees how important they are keep them longer.
5. Complacency - They are comfortable where they are and want to avoid unnecessary change.
Complacency isn't always a bad thing. Every organization needs to have a sturdy employee base that is averse to change. It is what keeps things running when the entrepreneur-types are wanting to change things up every 6 months.
However, there are others who choose to stay working for you because they just don't want to make the effort to switch jobs. And that can be dangerous.
Not everyone who works for you should be working for you. However, there are many on your payroll that aren’t passionate, committed, or even effective. But they stay because they would rather stay comfortable than move onto a job that makes more sense for their passions or skill set.