Respect is Key to Retention

How many times have you puzzled over what are the key things you need to do to insure that you keep your employees as the economy improves? Article after article has told us that up to 75% of our employees are poised to leave as more jobs become available. We have wondered what we need to do in order to retain workers. It turns out that respect is the key to retention.
In a global survey conducted by Mercer “Being treated with respect” ranked the highest factor important to workers in 11 of 17 countries surveyed. It was highest in Western cultures and was ranked as the number one factor in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland and the UK. It was tied for first in Germany and Spain. In the Netherlands it was ranked number 1 by a large margin.
For US workers here are the factors in order of importance from very important to least important, with a score of 100 being of middle importance.



Being treated with respect


Work-life balance


Quality of leadership in the organization


Working in an environment where you can provide good service to others


The type of work you do


The quality of people you work with




Base pay


Long term career potential


Having flexible working arrangements


Learning and development opportunities


Promotion opportunities


Incentive/bonus pay


Source: Mercer What’s Working survey, 2011
As you can see RESPECT is the highest rated factor by a large margin. One of the surprising results to me is how low flexible working arrangements scored. And key on this is that base pay and benefits ranked with medium importance, well below the other issues that deal with workplace environment. It is interesting to note that only three countries ranked benefits as being important and those were the US, Canada and China. That may be a result of other countries having higher level of state mandated benefits. An interesting side story is that only on area rated base pay higher than any other factor, and that was Hong Kong.
The lesson in this post is that if you have been wondering what you need to do to retain workers it is probably something that you needed to be doing all along… treat your employees with respect. To me respect in the workplace means:

Honesty, Ethics, Transparency, Legal, Consistent and Fair.

So look in the mirror and decide if you have been showing employees respect.

Source for this post was Nonfinancial Factors Seen as Key to Improving Motivation  by By Stephen H. Miller, CEBS published at SHRM National.

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