I Quit! An Improving Economy is a Risk to Your Business

I Quit! An Improving Economy is a Risk to Your Business

March 16, 2015

In case anyone still thinks that employees are “lucky to have a job,” the Labor Department’s new numbers should give them reason to re-think that attitude. As Inc. reported, “There were, on average, just 1.8 unemployed people for every open job in January. That ratio is typical of a healthy economy and down from a record high of nearly 7 to 1 in July 2009.”

Across the economy, your best employees have options and they know it.

In fact, adding to the pressure to run for the exit is flat salary growth. Last year SHRM reported that in 2014, employees could expect a 3 percent salary increase, but that Hay Group research revealed “After factoring in annualized consumer price index growth at 2.1 percent, the resulting base pay movement for 2015 is expected to be a minimal net gain of 0.9 percent.”

Many businesses are still recovering from the difficult years of the recession and struggling to re-grow their book of business, making big salary increases challenging. This makes company culture even more important to the success of the organization.

There are a number of key factors which are often more important to employees than money, all of which can help to retain employees even when competitors offering higher salaries come knocking. These can include:


It’s astonishing, but according to Gallup, “65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year.” Work matters to all of us. We spend more waking hours with colleagues than we do with our families. If we feel as if our efforts are unappreciated and we are not valued contributors, no wonder we’re willing to look elsewhere for work. A well-designed and frequently used recognition program can go a long way to institutionalizing the art of Thank You. It helps managers to understand the importance of acknowledgement in the workplace and provides employees a clear path for the right actions for success.


Forbes reported on a 2014 Career Builder survey which showed that 45% of workers planning to leave their company are doing so because they are dissatisfied with advancement opportunities. The chance to learn new skill or take on new responsibilities is regularly cited in HR research as an essential ingredient for employee engagement. By passing on a higher salary to stay with your organization, an employee is making an investment in the skills they will gain in your company.


Before they are employees, everyone on your team is a son or daughter, a partner or a parent. In order to remain competitive, a workplace must allow for the very human side of their human resources. There will be times when a child is sick or an aging parent needs a ride to the doctor.  As Meghan Biro writes, “A company that touts ‘long hours in the trenches’ translates as ‘doesn’t respect my need for a life outside of work.’ One that doesn’t address childcare and benefits for a family translates as ‘we are more important than your family.’ That won’t work, particularly given this intensely competitive recruiting culture.”

As the war for talent heats up, it is critical to remember that employees make decisions on much more than compensation. They also choose their employer based on a company culture that supports them, their families, and their future.