Top five reasons why employees join and stay with organizations

A new Towers Watson research paper is shedding some light on what attracts employees to an organization (and what keeps them there after they’ve joined.)  The 2012 Global Workforce Study includes responses from 32,000 employees in 29 markets around the world.

Here’s what people said attracts them to an organization and what would cause them to leave.

Rank Attraction   Retention

  1. Base pay / Salary Base Pay / Salary
  2. Job security Career advancement opportunities
  3. Career advancement opportunities Relationship with supervisor/manager
  4. Convenient work location Trust/confidence in senior leadership
  5. Learning and development opportunities Manage/limit work-related stress

Adapted from Top Five Global Drivers of Attraction, Retention and Sustainable Engagement Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study At A Glance

The study also looks at the factors that create an engaging work environment.  It’s interesting to note that Towers Watson has expanded their definition of employee engagement—which they are calling “sustainable engagement”—to include enablement (having the tools, resources and support to do their job effectively), as well as energy (which means a work environment that actively supports employees’ well-being.)

Overall, the study showed that:

  • Only 35% of workers rate high in all three areas and are engaged, energized and enabled.
  • 22% are classified as unsupported, meaning they display traditional engagement, but lack the enablement and/or energy required for sustainable engagement.
  • 17% are detached, meaning they feel enabled and/or energized, but are not willing to go the extra mile.
  • 26% are completely disengaged, with less favourable scores for all three aspects of sustainable engagement.

Wondering where to get started in addressing some of these factors in your organization?

Abhishek Mittal, a senior consultant with Towers Watson in Singapore shares some possibilities for specifically addressing the enablement aspect of sustainable engagement in a separate, but related article, Building a Sustainable Engagement Strategy.

In the article, published late last year, he describes a Towers Watson study with a large Asian bank that identified: “The analysis of over 300 branches found that the direct manager has a large impact on ‘enabling’ employees. When we look at branches where employees are more satisfied with their managers on a range of parameters, the employees tend to feel much more well-supported or enabled to deliver in their roles. Their perceptions about work resources, tools, conditions and work organisation are much stronger than other branches. In turn, branches with more “enabled” employees clearly have a higher percentage of engaged customers. And, we saw clear links between engaged customers and higher target achievement on branch-level operating profits.”