READ TIME: 2 minutes.

You invest significant resources in hiring, training and managing your workforce. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates that the total cost to replace an employee can range from 90% to 200% of the employee’s annual salary. This number may seem huge, but when you add up the direct costs of replacing the employee and paying out accrued leave, and add in the indirect costs of lowered productivity, lost opportunities, increased costs and lower morale, it makes it clear that holding on to your employees makes financial sense.

So why do employees leave their jobs? This may be surprising, but it’s generally not for more money. SHRM suggests that most employees leave to get away from something they don’t like in their current job. A poor supervisor, difficult co-workers, unfair treatment, lack of advancement opportunities and dysfunctional systems top the list of things employees are eager to leave behind.

Beverly Kay and Sharon Jordan-Evans have written a terrific resource for leaders who want to hold on to their best employees: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay. They outline 26 engagement strategies (one for every letter of the alphabet) that really work. Some of our favorites include:

  • ASK people what would keep them, what they find engaging about their jobs and how you can help them succeed.
  • JERK.  Don’t be one. The Saratoga Institute estimates after analyzing over 60,000 exit interviews that 80% of employee turnover is related to an unsatisfactory relationship with the boss.
  • TRUTH.  Tell it. Give honest feedback about their work. Share information about the organization. Ask them for their honest opinion – even about you.

Why do you think people leave your organization? What might you do when managing your workforce to help the good ones stay?


How Top Organizations are Building Company Culture for Talent Retention

Why Good Managers Really Do Make a Difference

The Stay Conversation: It’s How to Retain Top Talent