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Managers, Here’s Why Your Good Employees Stay (and Why They Don’t)

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An attractive compensation package may bring in good employees, but it definitely doesn't guarantee that they'll stay. We'll take a look at what encourages high-quality employees to stay put at their jobs, and what causes them to pack up and move on to greener pastures in their careers.

An attractive compensation package may bring in good employees, but it definitely doesn’t guarantee that they’ll stay. We’ll take a look at what encourages high-quality employees to stay put at their jobs, and what causes them to pack up and move on to greener pastures in their careers.

How to Retain Talented Employees

(Photo Credit: Siobhan Rohlwink-Coutts/Flickr)

Who better to ask about what it takes to retain talent, than SVP of People Operations at one of the most sought after companies in the world, Google’s Laszlo Bock? In a recent panel interview at Bloomberg, Bock shared his insights on what keeps top employees around and where employers (and managers) are getting it all wrong. For the most part, many people would assume that money is a key element to retaining top talent, however, Bock disagrees.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

“People don’t stay for the money,” he says, and then points out that “more than a third of Google’s first 100 employees are still working at the company despite making boatloads of money in its IPO.”

I think “boatloads” is an understatement, here. So, then, what makes top talent stay put, and what can managers do to retain productive, innovative workers? Here’s Bock’s two cents:

1. High-Caliber Hires

According to Bock, it starts with attracting and hiring the right talent from the get-go, regardless of how low or high the job is ranked in the company. Bock says that at Google, “every candidate is screened by their potential boss, potential colleagues, a hiring committee, and finally Google CEO Larry Page,” as to ensure that no bad seeds get through the cracks – because one bad apple can spoil the bunch. If you’ve ever been plagued with one of these co-workers, then you know how detrimental they are to morale and performance.

Many hiring managers make the mistake of hiring someone based on their first impression, but anyone can fake the funk in an interview to land a job. It’s important for managers to focus their hiring criteria on how well that individual will fit into the company culture, how the future team members gauge that individual, and what unique skills this person will bring to the table.

2. Meaningful Work

No matter how much money workers get paid for a given job, if it’s not meaningful and fulfilling, then they’re probably not going to last long in that position.

“People want to do more than just make a buck, [they] want to do something that means something,” Business Insider quotes Bock saying.

In his TED Talk, professor of psychology and behavioral economics Dan Ariely discusses his study, which was aimed at finding out what makes employees feel good about their work. He found that meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, and pride are the driving forces of fulfilling and satisfying work, not compensation. When seeking out a meaningful dream career, professionals are encouraged to consider what occupations best suit their personalities, rather than trying to chase a dollar figure and being stuck in a dead-end job that they loath.

Now that you know what encourages good employees to stay at their current companies, let’s take a look at what drives them away.

1. Terrible Management

When people hate their managers, they’re unhappy at work, and a disengaged boss equals disengaged employees.

A recent study found that a mere 35 percent of managers were happy with their jobs, which means the other 65 percent hated (or really, really hated) their jobs and spread negativity to others, even the people they managed. Disengaged workers cost U.S. companies an estimated $319 billion to $398 billion annually.

2. Lack of Work-Life Balance

According to BambooHR‘s infographic, the number two reason employees leave their jobs is poor work-life balance, due to factors such as lack of flexibility or putting in too many hours. More mothers are returning to the workforce after having children, so that means there is a greater need for working parents to achieve work-life balance, if there is such a thing.

It’s easy for employees to become absorbed in their work to the detriment of their personal lives. Ultimately, it affects their productivity, which reflects poorly on you, the manager. If you want happy, effective workers, it’s in your best interests to cultivate a culture that respects work-life balance. It’s good for you, good for them, and good for the company’s bottom line.

Tell Us What You Think

What reasons encourage you to stay at a job, and what reasons make you want to throw in the towel? Share your thoughts in the comments below or with our community on Twitter.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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Kevin
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Kevin

Pure truth..I pray I have that one day

Kris
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Kris

I have a huge issue with my boss telling unnecessary lies, and this husband/wife duo seem to ownership problems. They sometimes like to take personal credit for work I’ve done, and they help themselves to employees food and drinks out of the fridge likes it’s their own, like we owe it them. If I go out to pick up lunch, they won’t provide enough money to cover the cost of their food, and I end up paying an extra few bucks, and they know it and say “oh ok!”.. despite it being just a few bucks, I find it incredibly… Read more »

Moss
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Moss

My first year out of college I was brought into a company. While there I watched as people who had been there for 10 years who were making amost double my pay put out less work than me, and I mean at least 50% less than me, and my boss refused to pay me as equal as them. I was gone within a year and a half of starting that job. Went into another ccompany for the same pay. Started off at the bottom. During that time I was cross trained in various departments, and took on more work. No… Read more »

West Egg
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West Egg

HR managers have to pay more attention to workers before they start new job search. I’ve read in a recent article about predictive analytics used to save taleted employees (http://jobularity.com/blog/management) that the third quarter of 2014, 47% of employees are feeling confident that they will find a new position in the next six months that will be fitting for their experience level. This is up 11 percentage points from four years ago. That’s a very alarming statistics – isn’t it?

12-yr Mgr
Guest
12-yr Mgr

My Position: Hands-on manager of 2/3 of company personnel in a flatly-structured company. For Disgruntled Employees: 1.) Obtain education. Most comments here are very difficult to discern due to misspellings (“are” instead of “our”, etc.) and run-on, unstructured thoughts. Learn the power of the pen in all correspondence, and empower yourselves with it. 2.) For any and all complaints, provide your supervisor with 2-3 possible solutions. For best results, present calmly in person, and leave a summary in writing (see #1 above). In almost ANY organization, results will follow – if none other than being perceived as a positive employee… Read more »

Iamstrongbutleadershipisweak
Guest
Iamstrongbutleadershipisweak

Everything about my job is great. The money isn’t the best but I like what I do and I can pay my bills. I would leave for a lower paid, less rewarding job in a heartbeat if the company had strong leadership. Where I work the leadership is so weak, I have to write and drive the strategy and I’m the lowest ranking and lowest paid person there. The management is a joke and they take all of the credit.

krish
Guest
krish

I had to agree with TED Talk, Dan Ariely He found that meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, and pride are the driving forces of fulfilling and satisfying work, not compensation. I had one on one discussion with my manager, I mentioned to him “Work does not excite me any more”, as my manager is running his department as he pleases. He does not support the policies or guidelines set by the company. I call him a convenience manager. He does what is convenient for him as long it benefits him, does not back up our claims even we are right.… Read more »

Suzanne
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Suzanne

I’ve been with my company 15 years and have just started looking for other employment because I cannot stand working for my belittling, degrading, and bullying boss. I know I shouldn’t let her get to me but I am just over it!!! I am giving up phenomenal benefits but it’s not worth my health or sanity. So many in mgmt in my co should NOT be mgrs of people. It’s crazy!

Frustrated
Guest
Frustrated

I believe 100% that some managers are just horrible. They micromanage, pity fault findings, abrupt, rude, shout at staff in front of others just because she don’t like the person, bully and don’t recognize are value productive and calibre employees. Managers need to show professionalism, leadership should not generalise situation with personality. I have worked with a manager that never forgive and forget on one silly mistake which is just pity and keep on repeating the same issue every time we had a supervision or if she is not happy with you, not because you not performing but for no… Read more »

RubyR
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RubyR

I loved my job even when the economic turn in the banking industry tanked half of our customers. I was in la-la land for years as u was oblivious to what was going on. When I started looking at why employees were leaving in droves, I discovered that management was cutting benefits and salaries with the excuse that we had lost business and yet they could afford 5 week holidays overseas , and all 3 executives would be out of the office at the same time. One time during a crisis when a senior manager walked out we tracked them… Read more »

Discouraged
Guest
Discouraged

Part of this is true about management being a root cause. Also management not dealing with employees whom they realize don’t won’t to do the work and past work on to the next shift. Management sees the issues but wants the employees to tell on other employees so that management can in some cases make a 50% decision on firing someone. Also hiring family members are a big issues at my place of employment. 90% of family that get hired gets lazy once hired in and don’t think about knowing their jobs. For example, we have an employee whom as… Read more »

Bill
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Bill

I’ve been with same company for 23 years and up until the past three years it has been great. Now the company has capped there salary for my position and my wages have been frozen for three years. Now I have a new manager and he has taken other leaders responsibilities and given them to me. He reasoning was they could not handle everything in there job duties but he knew I could handle more work load. The issue however is the other person has a higher pay scale and I would gladly take over that position so I could… Read more »

JP
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JP

While people may not stay for the money, a lack of it can certainly be a reason to leave. Stagnant wages, or a salary that’s out of balance with the responsibilities of a position or the experience of the person in it, can make even the most dedicated employees feel unappreciated and have them looking elsewhere.

ThrowingNTheTowel
Guest
ThrowingNTheTowel

I have been in my line of work for 10 years, i have been with this one company going on 2 years, i hate it. Its an urgent care, before when i started they valued their employees, the motto was a happy wife and happy life. Even though we had men working to, it was still our motto. The company now, is just money hungry, no good quality work, no good quality medical assistants/x-ray techs, no good MD’s DO’s, Pa’s,NP’s. They treat their salary employees like crap, They promote people who have no skill set, no experience, no nothing. Because… Read more »

Pat
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Pat

I retired last year from what I would call my dream job. I would still be there except for an environmental change that made me so sick I could not do my job. I did not realize it at the time or maybe I could have done something but the new cubicles they put in must have contained something that I was violently allergic to. For the two years I worked in the new cube I was sick – my doctor said it was allergies. Rather than try to go through another year I opted for retirement. I haven’t had… Read more »

Fedup
Guest
Fedup

I have been employed at the same government job for eightteen years, i used to love it here, but now we have a new manager who might come in or might not, might come in at 12:00 and be gone by 2:00.
He says no one can take vacation this summer but, he is taking two week in June and one week in July.
That is not right!

tomas
Guest
tomas

Has anyone had anything new to say on this subject since Maslow’s paper in 1943? I thought anyone who ever took an introductory course in management already understood this? Its all Maslow’s Triangle, or more properly, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Money does matter – until the employee has”enough” to meet his own version of fundamental needs – and all those other things like job satisfaction, don’t until he does. Once those basic needs are assured, then employee starts regarding such things as job satisfaction, meaningful work, family time, etc. as important. (Money may remain important as an issue of respect… Read more »

Jc
Guest
Jc

I have a very good position in a company that values its employees and does right by everyone. My frustration is that the company is so much on that end that they retain employees that are just incompetent and don’t care. Because they don’t say anything they are allowed to disrupt operations by being the weak link in the chain. This makes my job harder because they are a vital cog in what we are trying to accomplish as a company. So, in essence, I just don’t feel like I’m surrounded by professionals.

DLW
Guest
DLW

#CastleManagementGroup

Lindsay
Guest
Lindsay

I have all the things that are supposed to make me happy: meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, and pride. Yet, I’m annoyed because my company doesn’t pay for healthcare, there are no sick days, and no vacation days for the first 12 months. They follow the minimum employment guidelines. Everyone comes to work sick. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the summer without any vacation days – not even one. As much as I love my work and I originally thought I’d stay until I retire, I don’t think I’ll be here in two years. I’m… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

I work for a very large insurance company. I have an immediate boss that thinks you should be like a robot and completely seperate your personal and work life. I don’t think he understands the concept of a work/life balance as he believes his supervisors should be at work with no distractions with no regards to deaths, injuries or personal events affecting our lives. It’s management like him that only care about the company and their bottom line and has no ability of care for individuals that actually do the work. It’s real easy to sit back and dictate what… Read more »

dianna
Guest
dianna

Oops typo: That was supposed to be “Retain Talent”

dianna
Guest
dianna

If money is not a motivator, why are executives given such large $$$ compensation packages to get them to stay? We are told that is to ” retail talent ” ? So really, why are these articles always downplaying pay? Not very convincing article.

Chris
Guest
Chris

The main reason I think we throw in the towel is pay increases. In our office we all work hard but there is no pay raises and now the high caliber employees are starting to jump ship. Our manager will not go to bat for us and why work harder when there is no appreciation or an increase.

Intiyaz
Guest
Intiyaz

Working for a long years in one organization make sense when your work is recognized & appreciated by the management. Your salary is increased as per the industry & living standards year on year & you are promoted to the next level with good hike in your pay.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I think a few comments here are missing the point about money, obviously you need to be making enough to pay your bills and have a decent quality of life but there comes a point where you have enough money to have a nice house, retirement fund, etc… I personally am at that point, my boss is looking to promote me but I don’t really even want the promotion, because it means doing more of the same boring things, with the same incompetent people with the same dysfunctional company.

claudia
Guest
claudia

touche to all of you, especially the comment about management/owner not actually reading these articles. We all agree that money does have a lot to do with employee moral and staying or leaving. Our incomes reflect our value in society and to ourselves. The basics need to be met. One does need to be able to pay the bills, buy food, roof etc. I believe that recognition of a job well done, or being part of a teamwork is most important also, but if you can’t pay the bills what good is it?

claudia
Guest
claudia

touche to all of you, especially the comment about management/owner not actually reading these articles. We all agree that money does have a lot to do with employee moral and staying or leaving. Our incomes reflect our value in society and to ourselves. The basics need to be met. One does need to be able to pay the bills, buy food, roof etc. I believe that recognition of a job well done, or being part of a teamwork is most important also, but if you can’t pay the bills what good is it?

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

So often I read that money is not a motivator, or that money is not a factor in job satisfaction. While I agree that it takes more than a good paycheck to love your job, I think money has more to do with job satisfaction than analysts think – Just ask someone who believes they are being under paid.

Donna
Guest
Donna

I stay at my place of employment because I believe that I’m making a difference in the lives of my clients (I’m a psychotherapist), who have chronic severe mental illness. I like and respect my immediate supervisor and coworkers. We work together as a team. What makes me want to leave is 1) it has been years (2009) since my last pay raise, and 2) I don’t feel respected by the administration. They are detached from the staff and are more concerned about the “bottom line,” not the people who live in and work at the facility in which our… Read more »

zoe
Guest
zoe

Hi. I just refused to sign a renewal contract. Mngt is so arrogant they dont even consider that they might have breached employee’s confidentiality, reneged on previous contractual agreements, failed to follow through on visa processes, ignored employees’ written grievances, etc. And most tragically mngt is more concerned about their own jobs and Its related status /position than to ensure employees’ well being in the workplace etc.

M
Guest
M

Touche’, Laura.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Sadly, these wonderful articles are read by the employees and not by the employers, who really have to start making changes.

Beth
Guest
Beth

continue from post above, very busy with customers and I have nobody in my area to help one associate has the.day off and my other full-time employee comes in at 2 and I’m schedule off at 2. MY DAUGHTER HAS HER SENIOR PROM,I am unable to stay and the new Co -manager the features fixed in the deli bunker, I am wanting to get home for my daughter last project day.reminder that we have never spoke or even Had she say hello how are you nothing but a little of lecture on what did I do my first 6 hours… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

I’M Please without a doubt, you’re right on in development of working associates and Management relationship,I’m going on 9 years of experience in working for major retail chain. I’m not sure if I even want to be at my place of work. We have received a new co-manager, and I have never interact with her or she’s not offer any kind of communication with me as for I’m a department manager over meats,I’m a very hard workingeneral associate I always have been one of those people who give 101% and the management team of our store tend to push for… Read more »

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