Last month, we explored some of the many reasons why people are quitting jobs in record numbers. This month we’ll look at the factors that make people stay at a job, or accept a new one, and how smart employers are improving talent acquisition and retention. 

Reasons Why Employees Stay Put

While the Great Resignation has not affected the labor market in Europe as significantly as in the US, there is still a rising trend in intentions to leave jobs. According to a recent study, 18% of employees in Europe changed employers in 2020, while 25% of them intended to in 2021. While that is a high percentage, it still reflects the overall trend that 75% of Europeans are contented with their jobs, and don’t intend to change. 

Some of the primary factors that make people keep a job are:

  • Current job satisfaction
  • Comfortable company/working environment
  • Lack of perceived job opportunities elsewhere
  • Overall life satisfaction

These factors combine to create a kind of inertia, in which an employee who is basically content with their work and life will tend to remain at a job indefinitely. A contented employee will overlook new, potentially better opportunities elsewhere, until changes in their work or personal life cause discomfort. 

This inertia and tendency to stay in a job makes intuitive sense: looking for a new job is time consuming, difficult, unpleasant, and carries risk of rejection and anxiety. People avoid it when possible. 

Reasons Why Candidates Accept Offers

Statistically, the reasons why candidates accept new jobs are fairly ordinary. Candidates accept new positions because of:

  • Better compensation and benefits: 49%
  • Better opportunities for professional development: 33%
  • Better work/life balance: 29% 

Again, this makes intuitive sense: when a candidate reviews a job offer, they consider tangible factors like compensation, growth opportunities, and flexibility. 

However, there is an interesting disconnect between these two perspectives. Employees who stay in their jobs do not cite compensation as a motivating factor at all. Why are these factors weighed so differently between candidates and current employees? 

The Difference Between a Job Offer and a Job

The truth is, when a candidate is considering a job offer, they are operating from limited knowledge. They do not know, and cannot consider, what their day-to-day work life will actually be like. They are evaluating only the job description as it has been explained to them, and the offer that has been made to them. In that situation, formal, explicit metrics like hours, pay, benefits, and location become the deciding factors. 

But the factors that make people stay in a job are implicit and harder to measure. Personal satisfaction, enjoyment, recognition, team friction, and life contentment are essential for long-term retention, but virtually impossible for a candidate to weigh in the balance. They can (and do) imagine their daily life in the new role, but cannot know for sure. 

How to Recruit Employees Who Will Stay

To successfully recruit talent who will both accept a job offer, and then remain in the organization, calls for a balance of these explicit and implicit factors. Some strategies employers can use to make retention more impactful during the recruiting process include:

  • Peer-to-peer contact. During the hiring process, schedule one-on-one time between the candidate and an existing employee who will be interacting with that role. Create time for job shadowing, a one-on-one lunch, or other time between them. It should be clear that this peer-to-peer time is not part of the interview and hiring decision, but time for the employee to gain understanding of what daily work life might be like in that role.
  • Explain whole-life factors. Help the candidate imagine their non-work life in their new workplace by discussing quality of life factors like housing, commuting, schools, and recreation. If you have a challenging location, discuss how other employees manage to make the most of the job site. 
  • Be competitive. Ultimately, your job offer still needs to “measure up.” Company culture and growth opportunities are incredibly important, but will only go so far in compensating for lower wages and fewer benefits. 

Balancing the tangible and intangible realities of a job help candidates make informed decisions, which helps employers ensure that they are hiring the right people, who will stay with the organization. Making the right match from the beginning is the best way to improve retention, and it’s our specialty at grapefrute. We work to understand the needs and desires of both candidates and employers, so we make great matches that last. For better candidates who are prepared to go the distance, contact us today.