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  Companies Try to Retain

    Alexandria, Va.-- Seventy-six percent of employees are looking for new employment opportunities, according to the 2005 U.S. Job Recovery and Retention Survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Sixty-five percent of HR professionals indicated they were concerned about the voluntary resignations at their organizations. To prevent a mass exodus, almost half of the organizations surveyed are implementing special retention processes to keep their employees.

The percentage of organizations implementing special retention processes had increased to 49% in 2005 compared with 35% in 2004. HR professionals have found that competitive salary, career development opportunities, promoting qualified employees and flexible work schedules are among the best employee retention strategies. Although salary increases are often perceived as the most valuable incentive for employees to stay with their current jobs, they are also among the most difficult to provide because although the economy is improving, organizations are still somewhat cautious to increase spending.

"The loss of talent has many implications for a company, especially when the organization's core, middle-management level employees leave in large numbers," says Tony Lee, publisher, "HR professionals are challenged with creatively engaging the people in their organizations, which will be a difficult task since more than three-quarters of employees are either actively or passively engaged in a job search."

"Offering competitive salaries for the market is important to employees, however, compensation alone is not sufficient for a complete retention strategy," said Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, president and CEO of SHRM. "Career development opportunities and work/life balance are important for today's employee, and employers must consider these types of issues in their retention practices if they want to develop successful organizations."

There are many strategies other than financial incentives that organizations can employ to keep their employees. Creating programs that help employees see their potential for growth within an organization, working with managers to develop career paths for non-management-level employees, creating a more favorable work environment, and implementing better work/life practices such as flextime and telecommuting can have an impact on reducing employee turnover rates.

In the survey, employees and HR professionals agreed on the top reasons employees left their organizations--better compensation elsewhere (41% of employees, 50% of HR professionals), career opportunity elsewhere (34% of employees, 51% of HR professionals) and dissatisfaction with potential for career development at organization (25% of employees, 31% of HR professionals). About one-quarter (23%) of employees stated that being ready for a new experience was an important reason to begin or increase the intensity of their job search.

SHRM and conducted the survey to determine opinions about job recovery and the effectiveness of retention strategies from the perspective of both HR professionals and employees. The survey questions were e-mailed to randomly selected SHRM members, yielding 435 responses from HR professionals, and a convenience sample of visitors who comprise the employee sample, bearing 465 responses.

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