What Employees Really Want
There's no denying the huge impact on an organization when an employee leaves: for those peers who remain and must compensate for the increased workload (and possibly lowered morale), for those customers who have built a relationship with that employee who must now "break in" a new account representative, and for the direct reports who must now transfer loyalty and respect to a new manager.
Recent data compiled by the Saratoga Institute in California shows the average exempt position remains vacant for 75 calendar days and costs a minimum of a year's salary to hire and train the new employee to regain the lost customer and supplier contacts.
After reading dozens of books and articles from hundreds of experts in the field, it came as no surprise to learn that what employees really want is meaningful work that provides an opportunity to grow in a healthy environment. Easier said, than done, though, because each person's temperment is different, and largely controls what is considered "meaningful" or "healthy."
One way to uncover your employees' core needs and values is to perform an assessment like DiSC or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Imagine how much easier it would be to satiate employees' work needs if managers understood the importance of self mastery, or strategy of design, planning and logistics, or tactical intelligence to each individual.
Another way to keep employees physically and intellectually present is to develop a career path with them: entrepreneurial and traditional types alike benefit from this process. Whether it's a new position and title, or being charged with the creation of a new process or team, seeing new opportunities continuously appear on the horizon keeps talent on board, especially those who need and seek change.
And while employees want a good salary, and good benefits, there's little that those at the top can do to influence an employee's decision to stay. A better indicator of an employee's retention is the quality of relationships with her peers and manager. Employees... people... want to feel cared for, respected, admired, liked... and yes, it is that simple.