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Let’s Not Panic Over the Quit Rate. But Let’s Not Ignore It.

New data shows that workers are not afraid to leave their employers, even during economically challenging times like these.
The U.S. Labor Department recently reported that roughly 2.4 million American workers quit their jobs in November of 2013. More remarkably, the percentage of workers resigning from their jobs—known as the “quit rate”—is now higher than it was before the recession: America’s quit rate was 1.8% in November 2013 … up from 1.2% in September 2009.

Okay, there’s no need to push the panic button. A significant share of this spike in the quit rate came from low-wage jobs in the food services and retail industries. Even so, the quit rate should serve as a useful reminder to all of us about the importance of retaining our top talent. After all, they’re the most valuable workers we have. They’re also the ones who have the most employment options and, therefore, the easiest time walking out the door.
We now know that today’s employees are motivated to remain loyal to their employers through a complex mix of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include how connected they are to their work, the sense of fulfillment and pride they get from their work, and the feeling that they are making a valuable and valued contribution to the organization, among others. Extrinsic factors include compensation, non-cash rewards, performance reviews, promotions and demotions, and the like.
Of course, savvy employers address all of these factors and the corporate world has given more and more attention to the intrinsic factors they once ignored. Many employers, for example, are building employee engagement levels by giving workers more mentoring, offering them exciting “stretch” assignments, and giving employees roles and responsibilities that are more closely aligned with their personal career objectives.
At the end of the day, retaining our top talent is all about rewarding and compensating them effectively. And that means much more than “paying” them appropriately. The most effective rewards strategies are total rewards strategies, which encompass compensation, benefits, learning and development, career advancement opportunities, and more.

If you’re interested in reading more about total rewards strategies that can help your organization retain its top performers, download a copy of our white paper, “Put Your Money Where the Motivation Is: Compensation Strategies to Retain Your Best People.”