The New Face of Employee Retention

December 29, 2015

Employee Retention

THERE is a major shift occurring in the turnover rate of managers. The new survey from Mercer found that 37% of all workers—regardless of their satisfaction level—are seriously considering leaving their organizations, up from 33% of the workforce who were considering leaving in 2011. . . . The new twist is that the inclination to leave is increasingly detached from employees’ satisfaction with jobs, pay, and even growth opportunities. Employers need to shift their talent strategies to understand the modern terms of engagement from the most productive employees. For lack of a better description, the higher level of turnover can be attributable to managerial restlessness coupled with an attraction to outside opportunities. Sort of a “grass is greener” state of mind. The problem now becomes what to do about it.

Let’s examine this from the perspective of workers, supervisors/managers, and executives.


To increase retention and build loyalty during that critical first year of employment, start building the relationship between new hires and their supervisors and department managers. And be sure to continue that work beyond the first year! Develop an employee-oriented culture which focuses on the needs of workers in tandem with the needs of the company. Don’t just delegate work; delegate as many decision-making powers to those frontline workers as they’re able to handle. When workers have the authority to make important decisions regarding their own workstations, they feel like part of the organization, and they are more likely to remain part of the organization. By empowering workers, you allow them to produce outstanding work. When you fail to empower them, barriers are created that are difficult to overcome. If these barriers remain long enough, your talented workers—those you can least afford to lose—will find work elsewhere.


As with workers, retention starts with culture. People want to work for a company that has high values, ethics, and honesty. If you want to keep your top talent, you will need to create an inspiring and energizing culture where supervisors, managers, and specialists can thrive. By doing this, you empower and encourage this important group to aspire to do great things and be innovative—and then you reward their successes. And be certain you place them in the right positions. All too often, we place people in jobs for which they’re not suited, setting them up for failure and dissatisfaction. A specific job may not be challenging enough or individuals may lack the required skill sets. We always want to make sure the fit is correct.


For this key group, identify those who play key roles in the future of your company; those are the executives you absolutely must retain. Offer one-on-one coaching and high-level executive development programs to enhance and refine their management skills. Provide them with challenging stretch assignments, exposure to the boardroom, and the opportunity for global assignments that allow them to experience diverse cultures. And provide them with opportunities for progression.

In summary, company leaders can improve retention by demonstrating their concern for employees at all levels of the company. Nothing less will suffice. This is the face of the new reality in employee retention.

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Creating an employee-focused organization at all levels will allow you to retain your top talent. Learn more ways to keep your employees engaged with these AMA resources and seminars.

About The Author

Jeff Wolf is the author of Seven Disciplines of a Leader and founder and president of Wolf Management Consultants, LLC , a premier global consulting firm that specializes in helping people, teams and organizations achieve maximum effectiveness. Wolf also blogs at Jeff Wolf on Leadership.

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