What Keeps Your Employees From Leaving?

A new survey reveals that employees of SMEs care deeply about salary, benefits and a group retirement plan

Written by Melissa Campeau

What makes your employees stay? A new survey by Environics, conducted for Standard Life, suggests that salary, health insurance and contributions to a retirement plan are the strongest incentives to remain with a company.

With six in 10 (62%) employers reporting that retention during an employee’s first three years is a challenge (and 20% calling it a significant challenge), understanding what draws talent and keeps them happy is critical.

For the survey, 400 decision-makers and 600 employees at Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses were asked what factors motivate retention. Nearly all employees (97%) and 94% of employers rank a competitive salary as an important element. And a competitive health and life insurance policy were deemed important by 94% of employees and 88% of employers.

Read: Employees’ Top 3 Demands in 2013

The study reveals the biggest disparity in responses when it comes to group savings and retirement plans. An overwhelming majority of workers (92%), but just over two-thirds (69%) of managers, named it as important.

Flexible work hours are cited as important by 84% of employees, but only 73% of employers believe it’s vital to retention. The only matching set of responses came when managers and staffers were asked about vacation time. Three-quarters (75%) in each group say it’s important for retention.

Employees are a bit less inclined to think regular performance reviews are important (72%), however 88% feel performance-based salary increases are key to retention. Conversely, 82% of employers believe staff members value reviews, but fewer (72%) imagine performance-based salary bumps are important.

Read: To Find and to Keep: How to Recruit and Retain Good Employees

Finally, bonuses, stock options and other non-salary financial incentives receive a nod from 74% of employees and just 53% of employers.

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