- There are signs the Great Resignation may be slowing, as many employees now say they want to stay with their current employer for the immediate future, according to a survey by HR management software provider Paychex in conjunction with Executive Networks.
- Nearly half (48%) of the 604 employees surveyed said they plan to stick with their companies for the next 12 months. Outside of higher pay, job stability was their primary reason for doing so; 60% ranked it among their top three motivations for staying, along with meaningful work and a passion for their field of work. Rounding out the top six reasons are a strong support system, company growth and opportunities for career growth.
- The findings revealed a gap between what employers believe is critical to retaining employees and why employees really stay, Paychex said in a media release. Employees are making career decisions based on personal goals and values, yet many employers focus their recruiting and retention efforts on what the company views as important, such as corporate culture, company brand and reputation and services and products, which employees say are the least important reasons they stay, according to the survey.
Employee desire for job stability is an underestimated benefit — positive news for employers trying to prevent a talent drain. Although it’s not a guarantee they’ll stick around long-term, it does give employers the opportunity to offer programs, perks and benefits that better align with employee needs, Alison Stevens, Paychex’s director of HR services, noted in a statement.
As “stewards of the workplace,” HR professionals have the knowledge, expertise, tools and support to lead the opportunity to get these needs met, strengthen job stability and improve company value, Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, said in an op-ed for HR Dive.
In getting started, HR should take an employee-centric approach to assessing worker needs because different generations place higher value on different benefits, Paychex said. For example, although baby boomers, Gen X and millennials are more likely to say job stability is the most important reason they work at their company, members of Gen Z said they prioritize meaningful work, mental health benefits and company growth.
To address the issue of meaningful or purpose-driven work, employers can look to sustainability-focused companies as a guide, HR Dive recently reported. For example, a recycling company encourages candidates with a passion for sustainability to “come here and help us give back to the Earth,” its vice president of HR told HR Dive. The company then fosters job development by letting employees craft their own skill sets and control their daily tasks. In another example, a sustainability-focused electronics company cultivated an environment of shared learning, where employees rotate sending each other readings and statistics on environmental, social and governance topics.
Of course, “the only way to really know what will keep [employees] in their position for the long haul is to ask,” Executive Network’s executive vice president Jeanne Meister said in the Paychex statement, echoing what experts repeatedly advise and what research repeatedly shows.
Not doing so can be detrimental to company stability. An Aon survey found that voluntary employee departures shot up 41% in 2021. Research has found that failing to listen or respond to what employees are saying may be partly responsible; a study released in April found that industries (such as healthcare and retail) with high turnover listened less frequently across fewer channels and were slower to respond to feedback, HR Dive reported.
In contrast, employers that regularly acted on employee feedback were 11 times more likely to have high employee retention, the study revealed.