Employees and Employer IssuesBy David Allen, Snelling.com

The numbers (as reported by CareerBuilder) are interesting:

  1. 39% of employers are concerned that they will lose top talent this year
  2. 25% of employees state that they plan to change jobs in the next 2 years

Few things cost a business as much as unexpected talent departures.  The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that it costs $3.5K to replace one $8/hour employee when all costs were considered.  Other sources put the average cost to hire a new employee (not including training) at approximately $19K.

Everyone wants to retain good workers.  But how can managers and business owners move beyond the lip service of “yes, I do” to the practical steps for doing so?

Is it just a matter of compensation? The answer is “yes” and “no”.  Your payscale and benefits package must be equitable, fair and competitive.  That is the basic requirement to lower turnover.  However, there are other things you can offer your employees.  In many respects, the answer is not with community pool tables, on-site fitness facilities, or the ability to bring your dog/cat/goldfish to work.

Today, the answers lie more within the basics of the job, the culture of the company, and the managerial capabilities of the executive team.  Some of the top reasons are:

1)      Stability – according to the most recent Global Workforce Insights Quarterly Report, job stability is one of the top things that employees are looking for in a new employer.  If they have that with you, why would they leave?  People, especially in times of flux and uncertainty, want a company with a plan – a sensible plan that will allow them to pay their bills and save for the future.  They do not want the 1 in 120 chance that they can be the next stock millionaire.  They want to work for a “mature, proven firm” that has an established set of goals and objectives and a track record of success and growth.

2)      Future career opportunities – in a study conducted by the Communications Leadership Council, 425 of departing employees cited a lack of future career opportunities as one of the top 5 reasons they left their current employer.  This is especially true in those work environments where teams are small and roles are specialized.  In those cases, many people view their opportunities for promotion as limited unless they leave for greener pastures.  So look for opportunities to promote from within, then backfill those old positions with new “blood” (so to speak).

3)      Respect – the word “respect” can mean so many things to so many people.  Aretha Franklin, Confucius and Dave Barry have all talked about it.  In your office, I will guarantee that if you asked 5 people for their definition of respect, you will get 5 different answers.  Therefore, you need to focus on every definition possible.  Respect can mean

  • Allowing employees to have a voice in the process
  • Listening before proposing counterarguments
  • Praising more than criticizing

4)      Work-Life Balance– Whenever anyone talks about work-life balance, the first thing many people think of is flex-time, telecommuting, or job sharing.  This causes many managers to instinctually shut down and say “that will not work here”.  In many cases, that is correct….some jobs just will not support flex-time/job sharing/telecommuting.  But work-life balance can mean much more.  Silicon Valley has been the leader in offering programs for employees’ family members – families of all shapes and sizes.  Many programs can be offered for little to no cost through partnerships, including


  • after-school programs tied in with school vacation calendars
  • onsite tax preparation appointments
  • onsite Christmas package shipping stations
  • discounts for daycare
  • on-site kennel service or dog/cat grooming
  • pre-prepared take-home meals



Employees do want to be paid well, they want stability, balance, and meaningful work that will allow them to grow.  Working to retain quality workers does take time and effortand thought.  However, these efforts are worth it.  Sudden departures cause disruption, disruption causes chaos, chaos loses money.  Lost money is not revenue.  Think about what your employees want, and if you do not know, talk with them.  Immediately, right there, you are showing respect and allowing them to have a voice.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.