The REAL Reason People Stay (It’s Not About The Awesome Office)

A growing number of today’s workforce is highly educated, financially-savvy, has plenty of options, and is incredibly optimistic about the future. How much the Millennials and Gen Xs earn isn’t enough to keep them in one place – job satisfaction and personal values also come into play.

To attract this pool of talent, a whole new trend has emerged : Awesome looking office spaces.

From giant slides, to indoor mini-golf courses, to gaming rooms, to eat-all-you-can gourmet canteens, companies from Google to Facebook to Twitter have gone all out to make their office space stand out from the rest.

Locally, we have companies like Mind Valley, Groupon, and of course, Google Malaysia, setting the standards for awesome office spaces. More and more companies are starting to see the value of inspiring work environments as a contributing factor to staff satisfaction.

But are pool tables, bean bags, and a free flow of energy bars in the office enough to keep people from seeking better opportunities?

Read on to find out the five top reasons people stay in a company. By prioritizing these things, employers have a better chance at retaining their top talent.

1. A sense of purpose and alignment with the company’s vision

Simon Sinek, leadership author and speaker, argues that what makes great companies so successful is that they understand one simple truth: People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.

Ask any highly engaged employees what they love about their jobs, and you’re bound to hear that besides the perks and benefits, they have found a company whose vision they can align with.

Work is more than a way of putting food on the table for them; it’s an expression of their personal values and beliefs, as well as a way for them to contribute to a bigger calling or purpose.

2. Lifestyle fit and flexibility

With the incredibly fast-paced and busy lifestyles most people lead today, flexibility and time are valuable commodities. While this is especially true for female staff who have to balance work and family, many of today’s younger executives find themselves more productive in less formal surroundings like cafes or at home.

Companies that can provide flexible work hours and the option to work out of the office one or two days a week will have significant appeal to them.

3. Supervisors who can mentor

There’s a common saying in corporate circles “People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers.” This is especially true with today’s younger generation. They are ambitious and love a steep learning curve. Managers, line supervisors, and team leaders need to be equipped and empowered to mentor their subordinates.

They need to be able to set clear goals, provide guidance as well as challenge their reports to grow, hold them accountable for results, and provide candid assessment and feedback.

When they can do this, their subordinates will see themselves making progress, and experience the sense of achievement that will keep them staying on for more.

4. Appreciation and acknowledgement

The less appreciated we feel our work is, the more money we want for it, asserts behavioral economist Dan Ariely. On the contrary, the more appreciated workers feel, the more willing they will be to go the extra mile to get a job done. Appreciation is not simply writing a ‘thank you’ note or giving someone a pat on the back. It is about making team members feel like they are part of a bigger picture, and their every effort is making a big difference to the company.

5. Fair compensation

People may not be motivated to work primarily for the money, but they do quit because of it. Research by staffing firm Robert Half shows the number one reason people leave is because they don’t feel they are getting paid enough based on market standards. So while offering a bigger salary package alone may not be enough to attract talent to your company, it is crucial that your top performers are paid fairly for their contributions, expertise, and level of experience.

When people are assured that their basic needs will be met, it frees them up to contribute creatively and meaningfully to the companies they work for.

In conclusion, for companies to create a culture where people are motivated and engaged, they need to focus on providing workers with a clear sense of purpose, the flexibility to achieve that sense of purpose, and the resources to do it (including compensation and training). When people are given the opportunity to contribute their skills in the service of something larger than themselves (purpose), they will thrive, the companies they work for will thrive, and everyone wins.

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