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Note: This resource is part of our Moving the Bar in Your Career and Your Life, a unique approach to professional development series: Optimizing Employee Performance. Click here to see the entire series.

Why do people leave their jobs? Is it because of money? Benefits? The fact they believe there are no real opportunities for them at the company?

While many might argue about which of the above has more impact on whether or not a person decides to jump ship, attempting to identify the main overall culprit is probably the least productive approach to retention. Why? Because while studies may show that one factor carries more weight than another, those same studies also show that all of the factors have the ability to influence people to some degree.

So that means by focusing solely on the main culprit – whatever it might be – your retention plan is only as good as the number of people in your company who are primarily affected by that factor. Which means that it’s nowhere close to being 100% effective.

Are you going to retain every person you hire? Of course not. The key is to retain those people you want to retain, those employees who make a difference and contribute a tremendous amount to the company in numerous ways. And in order to retain those superstar employees, you have to consider what kind of experience you’re providing to them.

Life is nothing more than a series of experiences, and people respond to them in a rather predictable fashion. They strive to avoid negative experiences, and they tend to gravitate toward positive ones. That rule certainly applies to people. After all, people provide an experience, don’t they? I’m sure you could identify people in your life who provide negatives experiences and people who provide positive ones.

The same holds true for an employment situation. If people aren’t receiving a positive experience in their job, they’re going to try to find a new one. The challenge is to ensure that they’re receiving that positive experience. However, there are two aspects of this challenge to keep in mind:

  • Experiences are very person-specific. In other words, what one person believes is a positive experience might not be the case for another person.
  • Employees are not apt to come right out and tell you what constitutes a positive experience for them. Unless you have a very outgoing and highly communicative person on your team, you’ll have to gather that information yourself.

As you might imagine, there are many different components to an experience, especially an employment situation. The good news is that there are ways to not only account for all of them, but also to ensure that you’re addressing them in a way that will create positive experiences with your team and increase retention. 

Read part two of this article to learn how to manage these different components to maximize the productivity – not to mention the profitability – of your team.