Employee retention. What keeps people working at your organisation?

Insight, Wellbeing Strategy

There’s a lot of talk in the press of late about ‘the great resignation’ and people leaving work. But what about the people who stay? What supports employee retention and keeps people working at your organisation?

What makes people stay in their roles?

Understanding what makes people stay in their jobs might be a much more powerful insight than understanding the people who leave. That’s the hypothesis anyway from a recent article by Sabina Nawaz in the Harvard Business Review. She’s an advocate of making use of “staying interviews” as an alternative to the better known idea of “exit interviews” for leavers. 

We agree. We’d probably go even further than a survey to understand what truly informs the everyday wellbeing and motivations of employees. Auditing the whole organisation from a wellbeing perspective is a fantastic starting point for improving organisational performance and we think that understanding employees and tailoring organisational support around their needs in highly personalised ways goes to the heart of employee wellbeing. 

Key foundations employees seek to stay in a role

But the biggest insight in the article isn’t about finding out what employees who stay think, it’s about what they most often tell us when we do ask. Sabina recommends asking employees about 4 key areas as the foundations of a rewarding job we actively want to be in: 

Expression – feeling able to express a full range of emotions at and about work. People don’t necessarily want ‘solutions’ to every emotion. But being able to express and articulate them is important.

Perhaps ask, do you feel we, as an organisation, create the space for you to express how you might feel at work?

Connection – being connected to people and having friendships at work. Having space and time at work to nurture relationships that can evolve beyond just ‘getting the job done’ is sustaining.

Perhaps ask, do you feel that we encourage connection between you and your colleagues that might help with team cohesion?

Purpose – knowing why they are there and what they are trying to achieve, and being able to achieve it. One of the biggest things people ask for in “staying interviews” is having barriers removed to achieving their goals. One of the biggest things we encounter at Cognomie as we deliver transformational coaching at more and more levels of the organisation, is that people reminding themselves of their purpose can be one of the most powerful ways to re-motivate and re-energise themselves.

Perhaps ask, do feel like you understand your own purpose in your work and share our organisational purpose?

Growth – as with purpose, people thrive on personal development. Being clear not just how the company can benefit from the employee’s contribution, but how the company can help with the employee’s personal growth and development is another vital part of cultivating teams who want to stay, not seek their growth elsewhere.

Perhaps ask, do you feel like there’s clear potential for you to grow with us?

Staying interviews

Do you know why people stay at your company? If not then introducing the idea of “staying interviews” designed to understand these 4 areas could be a powerful tool in helping support employee retention and create more people who want to stay. Making that part of a wider insight strategy where you have an ongoing understanding of these 4 pillars alongside other critical dimensions influencing Mental Fitness across the organisation can be even more powerful in building a business where purpose and resilience drive performance. 

How well do you understand Mental Fitness as a driver of employee retention and performance within your organisation?

To kickstart your own strategy, why not get going with a wellbeing audit for your organisation. 

Or click here to find out more about our Cognosis profiling tool and how it can help gain deeper insight into Mental Fitness across your organisation.

by | 12 Apr 2022

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