Employee retention can be difficult, especially when it comes to your top performers. Here's what companies can do to retain their best employees.
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Survey: These are the reasons employees stay — or don’t

Global human capital management technology company Ceridian recently released the 2017 Pulse of Talent Report showing that “good relations with colleagues” was the most popular reason high performers remained with their employers, cited by 49% of high-performing employees.

Respondents could pick more than one answer on the survey, and these other reasons weren’t far behind: “good salary” (48%), “interesting work” (47%), and “good working conditions” and “job security” (both 46%).

Workers in the “high performing” category were defined as those “with the best job dedication and the strongest commitment to helping the company achieve its goals.”

Researchers surveyed 1,602 people in Canada and the U.S., who “represented salaried and hourly workers, as well as a mix of full-time and part-time employees 18 years of age and older.” The Nielsen Company carried out the study for Ceridian.

Generational differences

The report also looked at how different generations view their current work situations. Among those surveyed in North America who haven’t hit age 30 yet, more than half want to stay where they currently work for fewer than 5 years. Older workers were happier to stay put. For all participants, the number looking to leave within five years was 38%.

Where high-performers work

Among high performers in both the U.S. and Canada, 85% say they’re employed at places that make their values evident (compared to 72% of all surveyed), 72% know what their company seeks to accomplish professionally (compared to 49% of all surveyed), and 81% “feel positive or very positive about the company’s financial future” (compared to 69% of the general population).

But money has the power to make some star hires leave — the report looked at high performers rated as “excellent” on their last performance assessment and who had gotten promotions a minimum of three times. Their salary was the top reason why they jump ship, at 24%.

While 38% of high performers in the U.S. are “actively” looking for a job, just 13% of them in Canada are.

More money can convince some employees to stick around

For some respondents, cash is king. Forty-two percent of those surveyed in North America would stick it out at a job they didn’t enjoy if their salary went up by 1%-10%. But the money wouldn’t make things sweeter for 39% of workers — those respondents wouldn’t remain in their job for any price tag if they were in the same situation.

Among high performers, 27% of Americans and 46% of Canadians wouldn’t take a raise of any dollar amount to stay in a job they weren’t happy doing.

What companies can do to retain employees

For those “actively” seeking out new jobs, they picked “non-competitive salary,” “lengthy commute,” “uninteresting work,” a lack of chances for advancement and “poor manager relationships” as the main five drivers of their departure from a company.

While some employees will inevitably leave, there are certain things employers can do, according to the report.

Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer at Ceridian commented on the findings in a statement.

“While salary creates a baseline for happiness at work, it isn’t everything. Organizations looking to retain their most effective employees need to invest in a culture that will keep them happy,” Sterling said. “Work/life balance, opportunity for advancement, and a positive work environment all play a role.”

She also summed things up in the report, saying that when companies prioritize their workers, the workers do the same in return and choose to work harder in a way that “drives a culture of excellence.”