Why Your Employees Want to Stick Around

A lot has been said in the last few years about the nature of work and career. From the necessary shift to remote work in 2020 to the Great Resignation to what many are calling the Great Redesign; what we do for a living (and how and where we do it) has changed in meaning. In many respects, gone are the days when someone started in the mailroom and worked their way up over a thirty-, forty-year career. Loyalty to a company has also come to look different, with most adults having held around twelve jobs in their lifetime[1].

As an employer, or any member of leadership, you probably spend a not insignificant amount of time trying to understand what makes your employees want to move on. While those reasons are important to root out, there are very important other areas to focus on to facilitate the ultimate goal: creating reasons to stay.

Repeatedly, survey results reveal the same rotating short list of reasons people want to stay where they’re working. Unsurprisingly, competitive pay is usually highly ranked. In our digital world, flexibility and autonomy in work hours and tasks is also to be expected. However, one piece that has been conveyed in several ways through these reports is this: the work must mean something. To put it another way, each individual employee needs to have a higher reason for doing what they’re doing.

Such reasons have been labelled many things: their ‘Why’, their ‘Calling’, and their ‘Purpose.’ Whatever you call it, an employee needs a clear picture of what gives them energy to do their work, day in and day out. Now, this can feel both incredibly personal to the individual and maybe a bit “touchy feely” for leadership to contemplate. I mean, shouldn’t getting paid be enough of a motivator? To put it simply: no.

The rising workforce age demographic needs work to meaningful and the practices that promote that will ensure employees of all ages thrive. Thriving contributes to job satisfaction, increased engagement, and retention.

There are many ways leadership can facilitate employees working with Purpose. There are excellent shortlists[2]out there that often boil down to one concept: each employee feels known by leadership and leadership has clearly conveyed the bigger picture that the employee is contributing to. After all, your company is a great story complete with mission and values and goals. If you focus on emphasizing how important each employee is to that story, they will want to stick around to be a part of the next chapter.