I recently consulted to an international management consulting firm. The partners hire only the best and brightest. They pay their employees well and offer challenging work assignments.
However, they work their employees very hard, monitor their time closely, and demand that they excel at everything they do. The firm is known for its unwritten rule of "up or out." If you aren't a superior candidate for promotion, you're asked to leave. Needless to say, it is an extremely high pressure environment.
The problem is that many of their "keepers," (i.e., those they want to stay with the organization) are voluntarily deciding to leave. The long hours and near impossibility of living a normal life outside of work are just too much of a sacrifice.
This is a problem for many organizations. Turnover, especially of good young employees, is extremely expensive. It often takes a year or two for new employees to learn the ropes. Losing a valuable employee represents a wasted investment of time and energy.
WHAT TO DO
There are many ways to keep good employees.
We recently conducted a statistical analysis of the Discovery Surveys' normative database to identify the issues that correlate most highly with the intentions of employees to stay with their organization. In analyzing the responses from more than 50,000 employees from all types of organizations, the following five factors emerged as the best predictors of whether people will stay with their organizations.
- Enjoyment of the
Those employees who enjoy their work activities and feel a sense of personal accomplishment are most likely to stay.
- Communication With
Employees want to feel respected and encouraged by their supervisors. Those most likely to stay receive ongoing performance feedback from their supervisors throughout the year, not just annually. Those most likely to stay also believe that their supervisors encourage them to make suggestions.
- Provide High Quality
Products and Services to Customers
Employees want to be part of a culture in which people really care about doing good work. They are more likely to stay if they believe their organization is operating efficiently, is committed to providing high quality products and services, and makes it easy for their customers to do business with them.
- Pride in the Work of
Employees want to feel they are contributing to a cause that is important. Those who are proud of their organization and believe their work contributes to the organization's objectives are more likely to stay.
- Optimism About the
Those who intend to stay with their organizations believe that management is doing a good job of planning for the future. They also believe that they personally have a good future with the organization.
You don't have to run your company like a country club in order to keep good employees. You do, however, need to provide them with five things: a sense of personal accomplishment, good one-on-one communication from supervisors, a commitment to quality, a sense of pride, and confidence in the future.