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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Factors that Affect Employee Retention and Motivation [2.10.1c17]

Sharon Jordan-Evans, co-author of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay[1] surveyed 15,000 people to find out what motivates people to stay at their jobs and remain engaged in the organization. The report, which is in its seventh update, asks “What kept you?” 

  • Exciting and challenging work (48 percent)
  • Career growth and learning development (42.9 percent)
  • Working with great people and relationships (42 percent)
In her report, the author describes how to retain and engage employees, no matter what the economic outlook, the spotlight on retention and engagement issues will continue because:

"There are not enough skilled workers to go around. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a shortage of millions in the U.S. workforce by 2012. Baby Boomers are already beginning to leave the workforce, either completely or on a part-time basis, creating a demographic earthquake as they take their institutional memory, leadership skills, and experience with them.
Workers’ attitudes and expectations have shifted—permanently. Blind loyalty to an organization is a thing of the past, and the layoffs of the past recession have further reinforced that attitude. Today’s employment contract is based instead on a sense of mutuality—I bring my best to the organization, and in return the organization provides learning, growth, rewards, and respect.
New employment options continuously lure the best and the brightest. The free agent movement is beckoning countless workers, making retention all the more challenging to managers.
Finding a new job has seldom been easier. Whether the economy is fast or slow, job options abound for talented, skilled workers, and are easier to find and pursue using the Internet. And headhunters are always looking for the best people—the majority of whom are employed.
The cost of losing talent is high, no matter what the economic conditions. Experts across the board agree that the cost of replacing talented workers can easily average two times their annual salary, not including the indirect costs of lost knowledge, lost sales, declining morale, and rising inefficiencies.
During and immediately following downsizing, the risks for losing or disengaging top talent are especially high. Workplace experts report that downsizing “survivors”—the workers who remain in their jobs after the cutback announcements and departures—begin to walk out the door 6 to 12 months after the initial layoffs. And of those staying, the disengaged survivors won’t accomplish the same amount of work they have in the past and, in fact, they greatly threaten team morale.
In the new economy, talent is a key differentiator. Advances in technology increasingly make all companies more equal, with talented employees becoming the all-important competitive advantage.[2]”  

Advice on Retaining Employees

  • Work on a regular basis to find out what motivates each employee, not just during annual performance evaluations.
  • Uncover what you can do to make the job more satisfying.
  • Find out what they want to learn, what their likes and dislikes are at work.
  • Discover what is needed to increase self esteem on and off the job.
  • Act on the information you undercover.
  • Invest in them psychologically and show genuine concern.
Additional reading on the Importance of Managers is found at  

[1] Kaye, B. L., & Jordan-Evans, S (2001). Love 'em or lose 'em: Getting good people to stay .San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
[2] Career Systems International and The Jordan Evans Group, (2004, August 12). The Retention and Engagement Drivers Report. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from Statistical Summaries of Retention Data Web site:


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