Benchmarking board performance: 500 board reviews later

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Executive leadership more important than immediate boss

Retention of high performing employees is critical for maintaining and enhancing an organisation’s competitive advantage.

This is why Insync’s research paper,  Why people stay: how to keep your best employees, is so relevant. It draws on survey responses from over 60,000 employees from 85 diverse organisations.

One of the more surprising findings from this study is the critical role of executive leadership in influencing employee retention. While the employee’s immediate line manager certainly plays an important role, we’ve found that long term retention is impacted more by senior leadership.

The research highlights that employees are more likely to stay when the senior leadership team has an inspiring vision, encourage innovation, are good role models, act with integrity and get the maximum from people’s individual talents and knowledge.

Senior leaders set the tone for the whole organisation and employees form a view about whether the organisation is right for them in the long term from what they see.

In addition to great senior leadership, this Insync research shows that to sustain your organisation, employees also want four more things:

  1. fulfilling jobs
  2. a performance focus
  3. a values driven culture, and
  4. to feel proud.

Working in a high performing organisation has many benefits for employees that enhance retention. These include:

  • job security
  • greater role clarity
  • personal development
  • career opportunities, and
  • greater reward and recognition.

When we provide employees with a fulfilling job within a positive organisational context, the employee reciprocates by performing to the best of their ability and by being an advocate for the organisation to potential new starters and importantly, to customers.

This study shows there are no quick fixes, long term retention can only be addressed in a meaningful way by ensuring employees have fulfilling and stimulating roles within a sound organisational context.

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