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3 Things That Make Employees Want to Stay

Companies that successfully retain their employees have a substantial competitive advantage over those with higher turnover. They have lower costs and higher levels of productivity. Given the greater value of a cohesive organization, it is important to understand what makes employees want to stay—and what makes them want to leave.

The traditional conception of turnover focuses on the employee’s perspective:

  • Are they satisfied with their job?
  • Are they committed to their organization?
  • What do they think about the quality or availability of jobs at other organizations?
In this article, we break down what research evidence has found actually influences these things. These are the key factors that lead to “job embeddedness.”

1. Fit

A sense of belonging in the organization.

  • Actually liking coworkers and corporate culture.
  • Feeling that the job utilizes skills and talents well.
  • Enjoying job responsibilities.
  • Whenever relevant, meeting professional development needs can be important as well.
A sense of belonging in the community.
  • Satisfaction with the home living situation and the community.
  • Availability of desirable leisure activities in the local community.
  • Thinking of the community as “home.”
  • Even the weather can somewhat influence fit.

2. Links

Connections to the organization.

  • How long the employee has been working in the organization, current role, or industry.
  • Frequency of interacting with coworkers.
  • Having coworkers that depend on you.
  • Participation in work groups or teams.
Connections to the community.
  • Having family or close friends nearby
  • Having a spouse or partner that also works outside the home.
  • Owning a home.

3. Sacrifice

Value of the current job.

  • Freedom to make decisions in the job role.
  • Feeling respected by people at work.
  • Prospects for ongoing employment.
  • Satisfaction with compensation and benefits.

The difficulty of leaving.

  • Feeling that leaving the job would mean sacrificing a lot.
  • Living in a desirable location, leaving the local community would be hard.
  • Feeling respected by people in the community.
Image credit: Susanne Nilsson