Recent studies have examined ways in which employees become embedded in their jobs and their communities. As employees participate in their professional and community life, they develop a web of connections and relationships on and off the job. Leaving a job would require severing or rearranging these connections. Employees who have many connections are more embedded, and thus have numerous reasons to stay in an organization. There are three types of connections that foster employees to stay at their company:
Each of these types of connections may be related. It will be important for employers to determine what is keeping employees at their company by surveying those employees that have stayed the longest and primarily in key positions.
- Links: These are connections with other people, groups, or organizations. Examples include relationships with co-workers, work groups, mentors, friends, relatives, church groups, and so forth. Employees with numerous links to others in their organization and community are more embedded and would find it more difficult to leave.
- Fit: This represents the extent to which employees see themselves as compatible with their job, organization, and community. For example; an employee who relishes outdoor activities and lives in a community that offers excellent outdoor opportunities, would find it more difficult to leave his or her job, if doing so required moving to another community that did not provide such opportunities.
- Sacrifice: This represents forms of value a person would have to give up if he or she left a job. Sacrifices include financial rewards based on tenure, a positive work environment, promotional opportunities, status in the community, and so forth. Employees who would have to sacrifice more are more are embedded, and therefore more likely to stay.
Find a way to understand why employees leave your company. To achieve this understanding, employers will need to conduct exit interviews of terminated employees (voluntary or involuntary). These interviews should never be conducted by supervisors or managers, but by the Human Resources Department. In addition, it is recommended that a follow-up interview is conducted via telephone 12 months after the employee has departed. This should not be a one-shot exercise but strategically planned for the future and at targeted intervals.According to the theory of organizational equilibrium (March, J.G & Simon, H.A 1958. Organizations. John Wiley), an individual will stay with an organization as long as the inducements it offers (such as satisfactory pay, good working conditions, and developmental opportunities) are equal to or greater than the contributions (time, effort) required of the person by the organization. These judgments are affected by both the individual’s desire to leave the organization and the ease with which he or she could depart.Once you understand why your employees leave, look at the three types of connections and determine how you can foster a more connected working environment. Most likely your company expends money, time, and resources to ensure hiring the right individual. As a contractor, you also dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to undertake good faith efforts to recruit individuals from protected groups. The effects of turnover can strain these efforts and create a loss in workforce diversity. In an effort to decrease the amount of turnover and increase employee retention, once employees are hired, employers should continue the same level of effort to retain quality employees that they took in an effort to recruit quality employees.