What makes people stay in their jobs

What encourages employees to stay at their workplace? What keeps them productive and engaged, even on a bad day? What gives your company that wow factor that helps retain employees and prevent them from considering job opportunities elsewhere? Despite the relatively inactive recruitment market, employers are still struggling with this issue. Keeping people motivated is still just as important as ever; organisations with an engaged workforce will be better prepared for the upturn and are likely to recover from the recession faster.

The difficulty is that different factors motivate different people. Some employees are purely motivated by pay, while others prefer a stress-free environment. Some employees value outdoor work, while others are happier behind a PC. With such a variety of individual personal motivators, it’s difficult to create a solution that has an impact across the whole workforce.

Data from The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2009 lists, reveals some key common factors that can be used to help drive up engagement among staff, and keep them actively involved in keeping the business on track. Our research highlights a clear correlation between those who say they are keen to leave their current job if another one was available and a number of other areas.

This analysis shows that employees who are least bored or disconnected at work report a suitable degree of variation in their day-to-day work, and they report the feeling that they can grow, either within their current role or leading up to another role. Having a varied role and the chance to learn new things helps keep staff motivated and interested in their jobs.

Another critical factor revealed by the data is ensuring employees continue to feel fully involved in the organisation; whether this be through senior leaders seeking the opinion of employees when decision-making, or the CEO keeping staff regularly updated with what’s happening at board level. Fostering a sense of involvement, and demonstrating to employees that their work is really making a difference to the organisation creates a clear sense of participation and engagement.

The results also show that confidence in the leadership is an important factor in retention. A highly visible group of senior leaders increases an employee’s confidence in the business, further increasing their involvement with the organisation and a better understanding of its direction and goals.

Clearly then, while every employee has his or her private preferences for their work, there are some common factors that senior leaders and managers can do to help keep staff engaged, and therefore productive. Even when times are tough.

Do you know how your employees are feeling, are they stimulated, involved and have confidence in leadership? Enter the Best Companies Accreditation and/or Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For to find out.


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