Employee Pride Reduces Staff Turnover

BY Kathy Crosett
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Every manager wants to know the secret to reducing staff turnover. After all, the costs of losing just one employee range from $52,000 (non-​exempt) to $156,000 (exempt). And those are only the direct costs, which Gallup estimates to be at around $1 trillion in the U.S. economy. In addition, managers have to deal with morale problems when particularly popular and effective team members leave.

The results of multiple surveys suggest that employers can retain their staff by offering meaningful work, a good compensation level and a work-​life balance. New research produced by Rick Garlick and Bob Nelson, along with Michael Levy, WorkProud CEO, analyzes the importance of employee pride as a factor in cutting staff turnover.

The Value of Pride in Reducing Staff Turnover

In their WorkProud study, Garlick and Nelson, queried over 1,000 employees about individual and company pride. Just over 40% of employees in the study reported having “the highest level of pride in their work.” And about 20% did not feel high pride. Before understanding why pride is important, managers should know the working definition of pride.

Nelson and his fellow researchers reported: “Pride in your work is a result of feeling as though you are doing significant work and linking your contributions to the success of your customers and your company.”

Specifically, the researchers have expanded the concept of meaningful work. They posit that employees who believe they are making a difference to clients and the organization take pride in their work.

In measuring the results of their survey, Nelson points out the power of employees who are “completely satisfied” with their jobs. They would strongly recommend their company as a workplace for friends and family. These team members are ten times more likely to be very engaged. And they're eight times more likely to serve as workplace advocates. They want to stay with their current organization. Receiving a better compensation package from a competitor will not tempt them to leave. Even better, these employees frequently reach out to support their co-​workers, an effort that builds huge dividends in terms of company culture. Managers should not discount the value of employee pride as a favor in reducing staff turnover.

Leadership Can Build Company Pride

It’s entirely possible for an employee to be fully engaged with their work but to be unhappy with their company. Corporations with a reputation for negatively impacting the environment can quickly lose favor with employees. Likewise, a scandal regarding a company leader or poorly made product contributes to a moral dilemma that could increase staff turnover. Even a drastic change in company culture or rules can induce a mass resignation. That's what happened at Basecamp after the CEO banned political conversation in the workplace.

On the other hand, leaders who build a culture of appreciation also build a company that employees can be proud of. Simple gestures, like having the company president call a team member and congratulate them on completing a project, make a huge difference. Today’s employees want to work for a company where they are known and recognized. Managers can keep track of what motivates employees in terms of recognition by referring to the results of their psychometric assessments.

The Power of Recognition

"80% of managers feel they are good at recognition, but only 12% of employees agree,” says Nelson in a Manage Smarter podcast. The disconnect between these numbers shows the world of work is full of missed opportunities. Managers have good intentions. They promise a big reward when a goal is achieved but they often forget to follow through on these commitments. To avoid poor outcomes and disappointments, managers must stay organized and not forget their promises.

In their zest to reduce staff turnover, managers often reward good employees with money. Our research shows that job seekers, above all, want a position with work-​life balance. That benefit may be something more managers can use as part of a reward program. Team members who have delivered a huge project on time and on budget may appreciate an extra week of PTO as a reward.

C. Lee Smith, SalesFuel CEO, advises managers to resist assuming that all employees want money as a reward. “One way to know for sure is to solicit input from team members,” he says. Smith warns that when managers receive input from team members, they must be prepared to deliver answers. If they don’t, they lose credibility. And the loss of credibility can lead to staff turnover.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko at Pexels