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Paycom says that 94% of employees report voluntarily leaving for a push reason rather than a pull.

This week I read a post on recruiter.com, The Real Reasons Your Employees are Leaving You. Author Maren Hogan references a recent infographic by Paycom that discusses the issue of “pull” versus “push.” A “push” is when an employee leaves for reasons related to their current job as opposed to being “pulled” by an outside offer that tantalizes. Paycom says that 94% of employees report voluntarily leaving for a push reason rather than a pull.

As Ms. Hogan says, it’s a big number that deserves consideration. Ninety-four percent of employees are not tempted by better offers from other companies, but rather by dissatisfaction with their current company. I think that may be a surprise to many. The perception is that it’s hard to compete with an outside offer and once, as Hogan says, they hear the “siren’s song,” they’re gone, but the truth is more complex and suggests that employer behavior is an important factor.

Paycom reports the top four “push” reasons:
1. Lack of trust in senior leadership
2. Insufficient pay
3. Unhealthy / undesirable culture
4. Lack of concern for development

Paycom’s results suggest that employers have more influence in retaining employees than they may realize. As a business owner, or someone in a management position, you can do things that can directly counteract these four areas of potential dissatisfaction.

Let’s tackle salary first. This is an area of constant tension and one of the most important factors is that both sides should be realistic. You can’t pay everyone top dollar, but it certainly behooves you to identify your key people or critical positions and understand the current marketplace for that talent and ensure salaries are line or you will lose people. Don’t wait until someone already has an offer when you’ll have to match or more likely better it. Being proactive in ensuring that salaries and benefits are competitive can save you money in the long run. New employee costs are significant.

You can make headway in the other three areas without necessarily incurring significant costs. Lack of trust in senior leadership is often a communication issue. How does your company communicate its values, mission statement, and goals for the year? Do you survey your employees and provide opportunities for upward feedback and suggestions for improvements? How open and transparent you are about the company’s plans for the future and how effectively you inspire and make your whole team feel included can make a big difference in employee satisfaction.

If you communicate well and listen to what your staff has to say, you’ll likely know if you have a problem with your company’s culture. Once you are aware of the problem, fix it. If you have a broken department, process, or a toxic manager, address the problem and change the situation or you will lose, and probably more than just an employee or two. An unhealthy work environment also affects productivity, customer service, and ultimately your bottom line.

Finally, employees consistently mention career development as a top concern and, again, you can improve in this area by listening to what your employees are looking for and finding ways to provide. Most people want the opportunity to challenge themselves, to stretch their skills and learn something new. Obviously an employee has to start by performing the job they’ve been hired to do, but giving people the chance to try new things or work on an interesting project is one of the ways to help them develop and grow and in the long run, that’s a good thing for the company overall. Whether you provide training opportunities, tuition reimbursement, or are just understanding when an employee needs to leave on time for class, supporting efforts to improve is one way to actively demonstrate concern for your employee’s development.

None of this may be news, but it’s certainly a good reminder that we have more control than we may think over employee retention. It’s not possible to eliminate it, but there are many things that you can do to help reduce it, especially among your key top performers. Make sure you aren’t helping to push them out!

This article was written by Jerry Brenholz

Jerry Brenholz is President & CEO of ATR International, a firm that specializes in providing IT consultants and enterprise-wide staffing services

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