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What Your Workers Want ... It's More Than Money

What Your Workers Want ... It's More Than Money
Credit: M Shutter/Shutterstock

In order to attract and hold on to top employees, you're going to have to do more than just pay them well, research suggests.

While salary remains a key factor in attracting and retaining employees, so do career-advancement opportunities, job security, and trust and confidence in senior leaders, according to a new study from the professional services firm Towers Watson.

Employers, however, don't seem to be on the same page with those priorities. The research revealed that job security is the second most important reason employees join a company and the fourth most important reason they stay with one. Additionally, employees ranked trust and confidence in senior leadership as the third most important reason they stick with a company.

Despite these findings, employers did not rank any of these factors as key attraction and retention drivers.

Laura Sejen, managing director at Towers Watson, said the study shows a significant disconnect between employers and employees.

"With talent mobility on the rise, employers need to understand what employees value if they are to succeed in attracting and retaining employees," Sejen said in a statement. "While employers recognize the importance of pay and career advancement as key reasons employees choose to join and stay with a company, they don't place the same importance on another top attraction and retention driver — job security — or a key retention driver — trust and confidence in senior leadership."

Overall, the majority of employees surveyed think their companies can do a better job of holding on to and drawing interest from quality employees. Specifically, only 46 percent of the employees surveyed think their company does a good job of attracting and retaining the right workers, with just 42 percent saying their employer does a good job of retaining talented employees.

In addition to job security and trust in leadership, employers have to do a better job of giving their workers more opportunities to advance their careers, according to the study. More than 40 percent of employees who have been formally identified by their organization as having high potential said they would need to leave their organization to advance their careers.

Sejen said organizations are missing the mark when it comes to career development: Less than half of employers said they are effective at providing traditional career-advancement opportunities.

"Given how important career-advancement opportunities are to employees, the fact that so many employees, and especially high potentials, feel stuck should serve as a wake-up call to employers to review their career-development programs," Sejen said. "Employees will have more opportunities to seek employment elsewhere as hiring activity continues to increase, and employers will be on the lookout for high-potential and top-performing employees."

The study found that with hiring on the rise, it's becoming even more difficult to attract and retain employees. Nearly two-thirds of employers are having trouble attracting top performers and high-potential employees — an increase from two years ago.

The research was based on surveys of 1,637 companies globally, including 337 from the United States, as well as 32,000 employees worldwide, including 6,014 from the U.S.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based 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.