What Employees Want from Employers?

Shannon HudspethBusiness Insurance, Employee Benefits, Human Resources


Today’s workforce is far less likely to remain at the same company from college until retirement. The average commitment period for younger millennials sits around two to three years. Turnover comes with a hefty price tag for employers. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it can cost an organization 33% of an employee’s salary.

So, what does the new workforce really need to stick around? Surprisingly, it isn’t necessarily more money. Here are a few reasons for employee turnovers today and recommendations for avoiding these happenings in your office.

People are mean.

Gen X and Boomers may feel inclined to tell the new workforce to “get over it,” but it’s not so simple for the next generation. While millennials understand that not everyone is nice, they are less likely to subject themselves to culture or a cycle of rude behavior in the office for long. Toxic work environments are draining and the new workforce is putting their foot down. Research from The University of Florida revealed that incivility at the office resulted in depleted performance and a weakened commitment to the job for everyone across the board! Tension via back-biting, rudeness and unfairness can cost you lost revenue and employees.

Since 40-hours per week of resentment is just not worth it for today’s new hire, employers should begin to prioritize creating a positive company culture.  Positive work environments are simply more productive.

No Work Life Balance

The rigmarole of a 9 to 5 seems to be engraved into American culture, but the new workforce needs balance. Feeling forced to choose between a personal life and work life is a pressure that isn’t reasonable for them. When studies revealed that we really don’t spend eight full hours of our day actually working, countries like Sweden introduced the 6-hour workday. The US may be lagging far behind. A completely inflexible work schedule and a series of rejected time-off requests may have your employee packed up and ready to leave for more than just a vacation.

Placing value on balance doesn’t necessarily make this generation any less hard working or passionate. Many companies have introduced benefits like unlimited PTO and work from home days to accommodate the new outlook. Employers that trust their staff to get the job done without cut-throat work schedules are more attractive to employees.

Feeling Unappreciated

For mangers, it’s unrealistic to send a handwritten thank you note every time your employee does their job, but that’s not really what they want.

Employees want to feel valued within their company. Recognition goes far beyond a raise. Showing even the smallest person at your company that his or her job affects the big picture makes them feel as though they are part of a larger team mission. Making 100 copies per day may seem like grunt work. If that employee knows that these copies will be used to sign the next biggest account for their company, their outlook may begin to shift. Become vocal about why they do the things they do.  Creating a habit of saying “thank you,” providing monthly performance feedback and hosting appreciation gatherings all go a long way!

No Upward Mobility

Redundant and stagnant jobs don’t cut it for today’s new employee. If they know their office manager has been in that position, filing papers for 10 years, the idea of sticking around for the long-haul may put them to sleep.

Make sure there are clear advancement options for your employees to aspire to. Things like quarterly raises are a great way to do this. Successful organizations find ways to develop new skills within each employee’s current position. Growth opportunity not only gets a team excited, it builds the morale for better productivity.

Every work culture is unique. Take a moment to reflect: What are some other reasons why your organization experiences turnover? What can you do to improve retention?

Shannon Hudspeth
Human Resource Director

Shannon Hudspeth: Human Resources Director