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Employee Retention, Understanding Employee Motivation


Employee Retention  Understanding Employee MotivationEmployee retention is a battle for hearts and minds. Most companies are not putting in place the people strategies that will alleviate the challenges of employee retention. There is insufficient understanding of employees’ motivation to engage them and sustain their loyalty. As our society has shifted from interdependence to independence, most companies are increasingly vulnerable to losing the battle for employees’ hearts.

Employee Retention Is a Common Problem
Retention of employees is a problem for all organizations. When do companies notice the problem? Well, most acutely at the time of an employee’s resignation. But in a robust economy it is easier to ignore the fundamental problems and to focus immediately on going into ‘hire’ mode. The act of resignation becomes lost behind the paperwork and interviews.

However, the resignation is an alert. It is a moment when a company is informed that what it offers is no longer enough to maintain employees’ loyalty. The company must learn to listen closely to employees. This means being attentive, focused and active toward employees. And the annual survey is not enough! Often the organization will only hear of an issue when the matter is beyond repair.

Some companies will conduct exit interviews, but rarely will a company examine where the relationship started to break down. The likelihood of a company putting in place remedial action to reduce reoccurrence is slim. The result is the pattern repeating itself. But at that stage it’s already too late; companies need to invest time in proactive actions rather than being reactionary. Would this failure to examine root causes be allowed in any other function of an organization?

Learn to Understand Your Employees
Invest in understanding employees. Learn about their motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Make this knowledge a currency of communication within the organization. It will enable managers to engage their teams, reduce inter-departmental tensions and build the culture that fosters the loyalty and leadership business objectives demand.

The tools are available to provide this knowledge, and there are several ways to put activities into place.

Employees expect more. They need to be appreciated and challenged. Not knowing how to do this effectively leaves any company vulnerable to their defection. So don’t be a company that has a recruitment agency on speed dial. Look for ways to engage your people and give them the desire to succeed with you.

Lee Slater is an event director at With Imagination Group Ltd. For more information, visit

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