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Employers Working Harder to Retain Top Workers, Study Finds

Nearly 70 percent of employers are taking steps to retain key employees . / Credit: Thank you image via Shutterstock

In a sign of an improving job market, a new study finds the majority of employers are working hard to ensure their most talented employees don't look for work elsewhere.

The study by consulting firm OI Partnersrevealed that with turnover already increasing by 30 percent, nearly 70 percent of employers have taken steps during the past year to retain some of their best executives, managers, future leaders and those who work on the frontlines.

"Most employers have initiated measures to hang on to their best talent," said Steve Ford, chair of OI Partners. "They realize if retention is a problem with a high unemploymentrate, it will only get worse once more jobs become available if they don’t do something to entice employees to remain."

According to the research, businesses are most nervous about the possibility of losing both high-potential employees and those frontline workers, such as sales and service employees.

"Companies are most concerned about losing employees who they have designated as their future leaders and those who directly work with customers," Ford said. "Job opportunities have already increased for these levels of workers, and competition for the best ones will become more fierce, as well as for those who manage them."

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The survey found that workers in operations and production, sales and marketing, customer service, accounting and finance and information services can be the hardest to retain.

Coaching programs, increased compensation and benefitsand tuition reimbursement are among the top methods employers use to retain management employees and future leaders, according to the study.

"Providing coaching to employees in how to become better managers is as important a signal of investing in their career development as are salary and benefit increases," Ford said.

For frontline workers, the study shows employers are using primarily nonfinancial methods, including selecting them more carefully, giving departing employees exit interviews to uncover and correct issues that are causing workers to leave, and providing better orientation and training.

The research was based on surveys of more than 150 businesses throughout North America.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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