Friday, September 6, 2013

Employee Morale and Retention

Employee Motivation as the Key to Higher Retention Rates

Employee morale and employee retention go hand in hand.  If employees do not feel motivated at work, they will most likely start to look for new jobs elsewhere.  Tracking employee morale is essential for measuring retention rates within a company.   The only precise way to measure employee morale is fairly easy: ask the employees directly.  This can be done using polls, surveys, suggestion programs, or even informal-type interviews for smaller businesses.  The results can be quite shocking.  Typically, employees are enthusiastic and have a high morale when they first start a job, but in a study done by Harvard Business School, they found that in about 85% of companies, employees’ moral drastically declines after their first six months on the job.  This continues to decline as their tenure increases.

Employees are often looking for three key goals that motivate them throughout their employment.  These are equity, achievement, and camaraderie.  Equity deals with being respected and treated fairly in terms of pay and benefits.  Employee achievement is established when employees feel proud of their job, their personal accomplishments, and their employer.  Lastly, camaraderie is generated when employees have close, productive relationships with other employees.  In order to have high retention rates within a company, employers must ensure that they meet all these goals.  Employers and management can do several things to ensure they meet the employee goals.  Three main practices can be put into place to begin to increase overall motivation: instilling purpose, focusing on employees, and promoting transparent communication.

Instilling purpose within a company typically comes from a dynamic organizational mission statement that gives all employees a reason for coming to work aside from compensation.  Individual departments can have purpose or mission statements as well that focus on its main goals.  These statements not only give an employee purpose, but a sense of importance, camaraderie and belonging as well.

Employers need to focus on employees as individuals to boost morale within their companies.  Providing employees with recognition, or coaching them for improvement shows them that the company is showing interest in them and that they are being appreciated for their work.  Receiving recognition for achievements shouldn’t be overlooked since it is one of the most fundamental human needs.

Opening channels for transparent communication between employers and employees is a quick way to boost respect, and thus increase motivation.  When employees feel that they are respected, trusted, and involved in workplace functions, all three of their goals (equity, achievement, camaraderie) are met.  Transparent communication does not just mean communicating fully, but listening to and involving employees wherever possible as well.

Employers often disregard looking at motivation as a factor of a high turnover rate and retention problems, but motivation problems quickly permeate into other aspects of the job as well eventually causing the employee to search for something new. Being aware of motivation levels within a company is the first step to improving overall retention, not to mention increase productivity and efficiency as well.


Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

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