Employee Retention: Competing for Talent

With the tightest labor market in the past fifty (50) years, companies across the United States are shifting their focus to retaining talent within their workforce. According to a study by the Work Institute, based upon statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated forty-one (41) million people voluntarily quit their jobs in 2018. That number is expected to continue to climb. By 2020, the Work Institute expects this figure to reach forty-seven (47) million.

This study also examined why people are leaving their position. The top five (5) motivational factors for an employee to leave a position or company are:

  • Career development;
  • Work-life balance;
  • Manager behavior;
  • Relocation; and/or
  • Compensation and benefits.

To place a dollar figure on employee replacement, each departure costs about one-third (1/3) of the employee’s annual earnings. Companies commonly ask themselves, what are the key ingredients to a successful employee retention program? The secret is creating and sustaining job satisfaction and employee engagement.

Job satisfaction and employee engagement are impacted by five (5) factors:

  • Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels;
  • Compensation/pay;
  • Trust between employees and senior management;
  • Job security; and
  • Opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work.

The importance of addressing these factors is obvious, but actually doing so involves an investment of time. The bottom line is that management must invest their time in employee engagement for the payoff of increased performance, productivity, employee morale, and quality of work.

For tips on how to retain employees or how to create a sustainable employee retention program, please contact HR Partners at 785-233-7860. In addition, we would be pleased to assist you with any other HR matters your business may need guidance with.


Agovino, Theresa. “To Have and to Hold.” SHRM, SHRM, 27 Feb. 2019, https://www.shrm.org

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