The average time an employee stays on the job is 4.6 years. Among professional and business services, that number shrinks to 3.6 years, and for millennials, it shrinks even further to less than 3 years. While salary is an important part of job satisfaction, workers also cite many other contributing factors as reasons for seeking out a different position. In fact, Entrepreneur reports that as people get older, salary becomes less important in terms of retention.
If that’s the case, then what can employers do to keep workers happy on the job? These five satisfaction indicators are a great place to start in your efforts to improve retention and reduce turnover.
- Effective Management—People tend to be more affected by their relationship with their direct managers than by the stated values and objectives of the company as a whole. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 37% of workers report dissatisfaction with the way their bosses operate. One way to address this problem is to provide additional training in communication and leadership for new managers. Great workers don’t automatically make great managers, so if you notice high turnover in a particular department, you may need to take a look at whether the managers there know how to effectively harness the skills of their team.
- Professional Development—Even if employees enjoy their work, like their bosses, and consider their compensation to be fair, they may still report job dissatisfaction if they have no opportunities for professional growth and advancement. In order to keep workers engaged in their current positions, businesses should provide opportunities to learn and advance. Training opportunities, new certifications, and upward career moves all play key roles in making sure employees feel fulfilled in their roles.
- Flexible Work Opportunities—As more jobs become easier to perform remotely, workers have expressed a growing expectation for flexibility in job performance. Companies that offer flex hours, work-from-home opportunities, and telecommuting report positive correlations with retention and lower turnover.
- Employer Branding—Developing a strong company identity based on values and behavior traits can help businesses know what kind of people will make strong employees. By actively seeking these employee types during the hiring process, companies can improve worker satisfaction on the front end. Strong company brands tend to attract the type of people who appreciate and agree with their company values and who will thrive in their particular business environment.
- Performance Recognition—Top performers deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their work. Rewards may take the form of a bonus or raise, but they may also include paid time off, an internal reward system, or a promotion.
Worker satisfaction dropped 7% this year as compared to last year. Some of that can be attributed to the job-hopping trend among millennials who take initial jobs they don’t intend to stick with; still, the turnover rate is expected to rise overall. While millennials and younger workers are highly motivated by job pay, research indicates that older workers place higher value on good management and recognition. By focusing on positive work environments, better professional relationships, and worker satisfaction, businesses can counteract the trend among their employees.