Employee Retention Tips and The Psychology of High Turnover

January 13, 2017

The cost associated with high employee turnover is staggering. You expend a great deal of resources recruiting, hiring and training them, only to get their notice a short time later. Subsequently, you’re back to starting the whole arduous process over again. So what makes employees stay? One answer seems too simple to be true, but the reality is that an employee’s level of happiness is the difference between them sticking with your business or leaving for greener pastures. To further evaluate this notion, we must delve deep into the psychological realm to find out just what drives human happiness.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

We’re all pretty familiar with the color-coded pyramid showing our basic physical needs at the base and self-actualization perched high on top. The theory posits that employees who have their entire pyramid of needs met will strive to commit themselves to a workplace and its goals. Conversely, if their needs are not met, employees will seek fulfillment on their own, usually by finding another employer who offers more quality opportunities. Helping your workforce realize their true potential is key.


Unhappiness amongst employees breeds in a close-minded environment. Workers who feel as though they’re constantly walking on eggshells or who won’t speak their minds for fear of ridicule are prime contributors to turnover. Multiple long-term studies now confirm the positive correlation between a low stress, open environment and the ability to process information. In the limbic system of the brain, the amygdala is the principle mechanism that responds to anxiety and fear. Upon over-stimulation, information is blocked from entering the memory and its corresponding circuitry. Employers should strive to create a more open and less stressful environment for workers where productivity at the neurological level can take place.

Positive Reinforcement & Recognition

Humans inherently want to perform well. We crave feeling engaged, challenged and need to feel like we’re helping achieve the greater goal. We want to contribute our personal talents and have a peer or boss see there’s something special about us that is indispensable. Employers must recognize their staff’s individuality and set them to work according to their best attributes. Also, it’s nice to be told you’re doing a good job. People respond better to positive reinforcement and stimuli rather than a constant stream of negativity.


Considering most people spend 30% of their lives at work, it’s no wonder that work friendships and camaraderie play such an enormous role in employee happiness and, therefore, retention. Respondents in a recent study confirmed that beyond money or prestige, their interpersonal relationships were the number one reason they loved their jobs.

How can you as an employer help ensure your employees engage in positive friendships? This one is hard. You can’t force people to make friends, but you can help create an environment where mutual respect and happiness abound. Try to remember that inherently happy people are friend magnets. Foster your employees happiness at the core and they will inevitably find each other and connect.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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