Companies have long recognized the importance of smart employee recruiting. Now they are discovering that it’s just as important to spend their time on retention. This may involve financial factors, of course. AON Consulting studied 1,140 high-tech workers and found that 56 percent would stay at their current job longer if offered a similar job with slightly higher pay. But issues related to job satisfaction are at least as crucial as financial incentives. “You rehire your employees every single day,” says Gloree Parker-Roden, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at Pearson Technology Centre. “We have no problem with retention until a time period where we went into a maintenance program without a major initiative going. Things felt slow to people. We found that the same people who complained about long hours and overwork really didn’t want to underwork either.” In other words, high retention of valuable employees requires keeping them challenged and interested as well as rewarding them financially.

In a research project, Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that the number-one driver of employee commitment is trust in senior management. If a manager fails to provide the necessary leadership, then people leave. Gloree Parker-Roden speaks for many when she says, “The important thing to me is being able to work with managers I respect and trust. If that was broken, then I would go.”

The Watson Wyatt survey identified other factors that caused people to leave an employer. Here they are, starting with the most commonly cited:

  • Higher salaries offered by other organizations
  • Dissatisfaction with potential career grow
  • Feeling unappreciated
  • Rising acceptability of job-hopping
  • Difficulty balancing work/life issues
  • Burnout
  • Benefits offered by other organizations
  • Perceived lack of job security
  • Conflicts with supervisor or co-workers
  • Viability of the organization
  • Conflicts with the organization’s mission or values

Salary is clearly an important factor, but it’s far from the only one. Any manager who has a high turnover rate shouldn’t blamed the company pay scale alone; instead, the manager should examine his or her own practices in the work environment.