Different folks have different reasons for staying with employer

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Which of the following items do you think most accurately describes why most people choose to stay with their current employer?

A.     Advancement opportunity/personal growth

B.     Flexible schedule/work-life balance

C.    Nature of the work/job satisfaction

D.    Work environment/corporate culture

E.     Salary/benefits

Of course, every person has their own reasons for staying on their current job when you take into account a person’s age, life circumstances and personal motivations. We recently ran a poll on our website, www.joanlloyd.com, where we asked the same question. The number one reason for staying on the job was, "C," Nature of the work/job satisfaction. "B," Flexible schedule/work-life balance came in a close second, followed by D, A, and E.

If I speculate about why salary comes in last on this list, I’d guess that it’s because salary and benefits have never made it into the top three in any survey I’ve ever seen on job motivation. Most people know they could make more money elsewhere, but it’s not enough to get them to leave.

Advancement doesn’t rank at the top of the list either. I suspect it’s because so many people have grown disillusioned about moving up. As one person explained, "Why would I want to put a bullseye on my back?" Technical expertise is being rewarded these days.

Let’s take a closer look at "Nature of the work/job satisfaction." What creates job satisfaction? When I ask that question in seminars, I get predictable responses: "I like to be challenged," "I like to feel that I’m making a contribution," "I get satisfaction from a job well done." "I like the work that I do." No surprises here. But the big question is, in this era of climbing turnover and a free agent mentality, what can managers do to proactively meet these employee needs?

The following observations aren’t based on scientific study, merely on personal observation. What creates job satisfaction for you? Do one or more of these fit?

"I like to be challenged."
Managers will have no clue about what motivates and satisfies their employees unless they take the time to get to know each employee and have conversations about what the employee is looking for from their job. Employees who thrive on challenge usually have some things in common:

§      They like to work toward goals.

§      They work best when their personal goals and the organization's goals are aligned.

§      They want to hear feedback on their progress toward goals.

§      They like fresh, stretch assignments, where they can test their skills and creativity.

§      They don’t mind some risk and visibility, as long as they have your support.

§      They don’t stay motivated doing only routine work.

§      They won’t work for a micro-manager.

"I like to feel that I’m making a contribution."
Many people get a sense of community and belonging when they are working with a committed group of co-workers toward a common goal. These folks tend to have these things in common:

§      They work best when they feel aligned to the mission of the organization.

§      They put great value on close, friendly relationships with co-workers.

§      They require frequent feedback from both internal and external customers.

§      They thrive when others praise their work and appreciate their efforts.

§      They tend to shy away from entrepreneurship or high-risk projects.

"I get satisfaction from a job well-done."
Many people love the technical work they do and feel a sense of pride when they see the results of their efforts. Some common traits:

§      They work best when they have control over a project.

§      They tend to like to organize and implement the work.

§      They have high quality standards.

§      They thrive when the results of their work are immediately known.

§      They often prefer to work alone.

Chances are, some of these characteristics are what give you job satisfaction. When was the last time you talked to your employees or your own manager about what matters to you? After all, the more satisfied you are, the better results you’ll get.


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
 
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