How to Make Your Employees Want to Stay

by Marcianne Kuethen
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In the current labor market where most candidates are considering their options, you may be wondering how to make your employees want to stay. Because qualified candidates know they’re in demand, it’s wise to consider what makes employees want to leave in the first place.

An Indeed survey recently dug into trends in job tenure and turned up some useful and surprising information that may be helpful in your quest for employee retention. The most encouraging news was this: Although it may feel as though employees are jumping ship left and right, the actual average job tenure is about 7 years. Even Millennials, who often get a bad rap as job hoppers, came out with staying an average of 4 years in the same job. Not surprisingly, the job tenure increased with the age of the workers surveyed. People ages 45 and older reported having been in the same position for an average of 10 or more years.

Rather than dissatisfaction or employee turnover, one reason for the high statistics in job changes is that some people accepted a different role internally within the same company. The survey showed that reasons for these internal moves mainly included career advancement (64.4%), expanding skills (41.8%), increased compensation/benefits (38%), and promotions (36.5%). A small group (8.5%) also switched jobs internally for a different work environment.  “These reasons suggest that employers and department leaders can increase employee satisfaction by creating more opportunities for development and enrichment,” the survey deduced. Understanding what will satisfy them can help you develop strategies for how to make your employees want to stay.

Slightly different reasons, however, motivated employees who decided to change companies. Career advancement was still the primary motivation (41.4%), and higher compensation/benefits was also a big factor (41.2%). But many people who made such a move were also seeking a better work environment (27.8%), greater balance in work/life (24.1%), and a better commute (14.7%). Another 10% sought greater flexibility.

Learning How Employees Think

It’s possible, suggests Indeed, that the internal and external statistics on career advancement show that employees prefer to first seek internal opportunities to advance their careers. By the same token, the statistics on compensation and benefits could mean that employees don’t think their compensation will meaningfully improve with an internal move. It’s also likely that workers feel it’s easier to switch companies to achieve a better work environment.

How to Make Your Employees Want to Stay

Understanding how employees think about making a move is important when planning how to make your employees want to stay.

Based on the survey results, here’s a synopsis of Indeed’s suggested strategies for increasing employee retention:

  • Offer competitive salaries and benefits: Stay on top of your industry’s current wages and benefits to hang onto your best employees. Offering competitive compensation will also attract top candidates for newly opened positions.
  • Develop programs focused on skill-building: Set up structured, achievable career advancement pathways. Provide programs and mentoring opportunities to help employees develop the skills they’ll need to move vertically within your company.
  • Cultivate a supportive corporate culture: Starting at the top, incorporate changes to create a supportive, inclusive company culture. To be effective, these changes must be incorporated into the company’s hiring and personnel management programs.
  • Recognize achievement: Employees want their achievements to be tangibly rewarded, whether it’s by compensation or promotions. But there are other ways to recognize accomplishments (read Rewards and Recognitions for more ideas).

If you value your employees, it will show in the strategies you concoct to recognize their successes, advance their careers, and support them within the embrace of your company culture. “Invest in your employees and they will be invested in your firm,” says Indeed, which we agree is how to make your employees want to stay!

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