August 10, 2018

What Makes People Stay: How to Hold On to Your Best and Brightest Talent

Job mobility – moving from job to job and company to company – has become easier than ever. Networks like LinkedIn make it simple for employees to find new opportunities and employers can find the talent they need at the push of a button.

But this new level of mobility has employers asking an important question: what makes people stay with a company?

We surveyed 1,015 LinkedIn users across generations, genders, job functions, and industries to answer this question and learned some surprising things about what makes talent tick.

Generational Effect

Of those who switched jobs in the last two years:

  • 41% are Millennials
  • 11% are Boomers
  • Boomers are more than twice as likely as Millennials to have not switched jobs in the last 2 years

With trends like these, it may be a good idea to focus on Millennials in particular when you’re seeking to retain talent. Get to know them over coffee, learn about their interests, ensure they’re working on projects that energize them, and consider connecting them to other generations through mentorship relationships.


Hierarchy also matters when it comes to retention. In our study, we found that only 12% of executives were actively looking for other opportunities, while 40% of middle managers and individual contributors were looking. As employees increase their responsibility and leadership levels, their likelihood of staying with the company also increases.

To retain talent, ensure your company has opportunities for job growth and increases in leadership responsibility. When employees can see potential for career growth, and can experience progress in their careers, they’ll be less likely to leave. Host coffee chats where individual contributors can regularly rub elbows with leaders and learn more about the pathways for growing within the company.


Salary is also an important part of the equation when it comes to talent retention. Switching jobs pays; 41% of job switchers have an annual salary of $100,000, compared with 27% percent of non-switchers. To hold on to top talent, ensure that compensation is fair and market-priced so that employees aren’t motivated to walk out the door based on their salary.


Finally, our study showed that active job candidates have between 4-10 years of experience at their current companies. It’s in that 4-10 year window when employees are most likely to feel the itch and move to other opportunities.

In terms of retention, it’s important to pay attention to all employees, but it may be especially wise to connect with employees within that 4-10 year window. Ensure that they feel valued, understand how their work contributes to the organization, and have a sense of their growth and potential with the company.

Ultimately, employee retention is all about creating a workplace culture that fosters engagement, collaboration, well-being, and productivity. Holding on to the best and brightest talent is important to any company’s success, especially when employees are more mobile than ever. The data from our survey helps points the way toward the approaches that help ensure they stay around.

Tags: Workplace