Keeping Employees Happy

Dear, Anita,

I have a hunch that one of my direct reports may be looking for another job. I’d really hate to lose her, as she is so dependable and, after being with us for four years, really knows the ins and outs of the business. We did give her a 3% raise about 5 months ago, so it’s too early to give her another pay bump. What else can our company do to keep her happy here?

Dear, Sweating Bullets,

There are numerous studies on the reasons that people leave their jobs. I won’t make you feel terrible by quoting “The Savage Truth” blog: “It’s not the company they are leaving. It’s you.” Whoopsie.

Most managers assume it’s about the money. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that compensation was actually number 3 on the list, with limited career/promotion opportunities and lack of respect/support from supervisors as number 1 and 2, respectively.  A survey by Staffing Industry Analysts found the top three reasons employees left a staffing job were bad management, bad environment, and a lack of opportunity. Entrepreneur cites advancement, work/life balance, and money as the top 3 reasons people leave jobs.

So what can you do to manage your team in a positive environment where workers feel valued and have room for professional growth?

It may be helpful to look at businesses people are dying to work for — such as Google, named a “Best Place To Work” by Fortune and Glassdoor’s 2015 Employees’ Choice Awards. Not every company can offer on-site haircuts and dry-cleaning, subsidized massages, and rec rooms equipped with foosball and video games, but there are feasible things you can do. When Google changed its maternity leave from a 12-week plan to 5 months taken at the new mom’s discretion, the attrition rate for new mothers reduced by 50%. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the cost to replace and hire new staff is estimated to be 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary. That may be reason enough to keep your current employees satisfied.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests employee incentive programs such as flex time, workplace wellness programs, project completion perks, and corporate memberships.

You didn’t mention your employee’s age, but Generation X may want different perks and purpose than their predecessors. According to researchers Charlotte and Laura Shelton, 51% of Gen Xers said they’d quit if another employer offered them the chance to telecommute and 61% of Gen X women would leave their current jobs if they were offered more flexible hours elsewhere. The top 3 things Gen X want in a job: positive relationships with colleagues, interesting work, and opportunities for learning.

You’ll have to probe to determine what the silver bullet is for this particular staffer and see if your company is willing to make changes not just for her, but to increase employee retention in the future.

Readers: If you were considering leaving your job, what could your employer offer that would make a difference?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathy cook
    Jan 27, 2015 @ 10:45:05

    I would be happy if I didn’t have to go threw all this and still no job. Please and I mean please find me a forklift driver job. Then I would be happy too.


    • anitaclew
      Jan 27, 2015 @ 14:03:08

      Cathy, Miss Anita doesn’t do the hiring for The Select Family of Staffing Companies. If you haven’t heard back in a few days after applying online, contact the nearest branch to follow up on your status.


      • Catherine
        Feb 26, 2015 @ 11:06:14

        I’d love a “great” reference from my staffing agencies for the numerous clients for which I have worked. How can I ask my staffing managers for a reference so that I can see “direct hire/direct placement” positions?


        • anitaclew
          Feb 26, 2015 @ 15:27:59

          I would make my request in writing if you have the email addresses of the staffing managers. Say something along these lines: “I greatly enjoyed my temporary assignment at XYZ Company. I am interested in applying to any direct hire positions that may be open. Could you please provide me with a reference for your human resources department?” Good luck; let me know how it goes.


  2. Kevin
    Jan 27, 2015 @ 09:39:58

    I’m currently looking for another career path because of the lack of respect I receive and the fact that I can’t go any further; I’m maxed out on pay and position. And sadly with a growing family it isn’t the best for us. When I know that everyday I’m not going anywhere and essentially stuck with what I have. The only way they could get me to continue on with my current career would be to offer better pay and a friendlier work place. Which I highly doubt would happen since upper management is so heavily focused on meeting bonus and number goals.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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