It's relatively easy and cheap to solve most retention problems. Most workers really don't leave for money but managers like to hear it's the money, because that shifts the blame for losing employees away from themselves and onto other parts of the organisation.
Employees too often say they left for financial reasons in exit interviews to preserve their positive references and because they see little chance that telling the truth will result in any changes.
If you look at the real causes of turnover, through delayed exit interviews and comparing the difference between an exiting employee’s current and offered salaries, you'll find that managers have control over the majority of the reasons people leave their jobs.
The big motivators
- Communication - Honest, frequent two-way communication between workers and managers, including constructive discussion of workplace issues.
- Challenging and exciting work - Ensure every employee has a challenge plan and is periodically asked to rate the degree of job excitement.
- Opportunities - Reward managers for developing their employees and make sure that employees are held accountable for following through on their individual learning plans.
- Recognition and reward for performance - Make it clear what the incentives are and reward fairly across all departments so employees see the benefits of effort.
- Control over the job - You've employed your staff to do a job, so let them do it. Trust people to be able to shape the way they work and the projects they get involved in.
- Business Impact - Provide employees with periodic reports on the effect their projects are having on the business so they know their work makes a difference.
The money factor
An excellent argument can be made that managers can significantly influence employee compensation at many firms. It is certainly true that compensation is so interrelated with the Big Six issues, that taking compensation out of managers’ hands weakens their ability to retain talent.
By telling employees up-front that managers have control over compensation, you force mangers to discuss pay on a one-on-one basis with their workers. After managers overcome the "my hands are tied" compensation hurdle, other individual communication on motivational issues is much easier.
Even when new salary offers are significantly higher, you'll often find that bad management practices caused employees to look for other jobs, and that only after looking did they realize they could get more money and better treatment if they left. One solution to this type of turnover is relatively simple. Start by telling employees what they should expect from their managers, and help managers improve their delivery of the key motivators.
If you find employees are leaving for better jobs, HR needs to give managers the tools necessary to make their employees’ current jobs the better jobs.
Making jobs better
Tell your managers it's their responsibility to ensure their employees are satisfied and motivated. Hold your managers accountable and publicise their retention successes and failures by distributing retention metrics throughout your organization.
Develop a periodic measurement system to see if managers are delivering. Then tie a portion of managers’ compensation to successful delivery of the motivation factors and a low turnover rate among top performers
You should educate your employees on what motivational factors are, and how you strive to motivate them. if they can see that your business is putting in the effort, the likelihood of them leaving is vastly reduced.