Why Do Your Employees Work for You?

The answer to this question may be the key to retaining your best employees.

By David Cox, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | May 11, 2017

I heard many employers’ express concerns about whether they can retain their best people. However, they are also concerned about retaining good employees and the high cost of frequent turnover.

Obviously, these employment issues have one thing in common – You, the employer. Have you ever stopped to consider why anyone would choose to remain in your organization and work for you? Perhaps it’s something you’ve never considered, but seriously, stop and think about it for a minute. Why do your employees work for you?

People choose to work for a company for many good reasons. Maybe the work is challenging and rewarding or the pay and benefits are too good to pass up. It might be that the company has an excellent reputation, or it could be that a friend works there, or that the office is only 10-15 minutes away from your house.

Regardless of why people go to work for a company, research says employees stay because of their employer. So, the question is reasonable: Why do your employees work for you?

Knowing the answer to this simple question can provide a lot of insight into who you are as an employer and how to retain your best employees.

I recently read an article on this topic by Dan Oswald of The Oswald Letter: Insights for Business and Leadership. He suggests that the best employers share the following qualities: a passion for their work, a commitment to success, and loyalty to others. I couldn’t agree more.

Passion – Some of the finest employers I’ve ever known love their work. They enjoy getting up each day and come to their workplace ready for the next challenges. They live the adage, “find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” When employees work for an employer who loves his/her job, the attitude can become contagious.

Commitment – These employers are also committed to success. When people work for an employer who genuinely cares about success, employees want to become a part of that success. Employees want to contribute to what the team is trying to achieve. They don’t ever want to be the reason that something doesn’t work.

Loyalty – These employers are loyal to the company, loyal to the vision of what they’re striving to achieve, and they’re loyal to the employees with whom they work. And often, the employer’s loyalty is rewarded with employees who are loyal to them. These employees are typically willing to go the extra mile because they want to help their employer achieve successful outcomes.

You may have noticed that I didn’t include the word charismatic as a quality among successful employers. Nor did I include their ability to motivate or inspire the people who worked for them. The employers I’ve described motivated others — not by their words, but by their actions.

You see, it’s what these employers do, not what they say, that motivates others to follow them. And it’s their passion, commitment, and loyalty that sets them apart and causes others to want to work for them.

David Cox


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