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To stay or not to stay – that is the employee question

05 July, 2013

What makes employees leave or stay in organisations and how organisations can improve employee retention is the focus of a public lecture being held at the University of South Australia on July 15.

The University's Centre for Human Resource Management (CHRM) will host Professor Thomas W. Lee from the University of Washington for the second annual Insights Public Lecture.

CHRM researcher and International Graduate School of Business lecturer Dr Mary Bambacas, who is coordinating the event and also researches employee retention, says Professor Lee has extensively explored employee motivations for quitting or staying.

"Prof Lee will present the latest research findings and offer concrete suggestions on how organisations can improve employee retention," Dr Bambacas says.

Dr Bambacas' own research in the Asia-Pacific region has found managers generally don't stay in one job for longer than five years.

"Yet managers play a pivotal role in organisations," she says.

"They can improve the organisation's competitive advantage."

Dr Bambacas says organisations needed to focus on 'fit' and rewards for employees.

"If the fit between an employee and an organisation is not good, then people are going to leave," she says.

"Financial rewards, recognition from their supervisors or rewards leading to their advancement help employees feel they are a good fit with the organisation, so that they do not want to leave."

Dr Bambacas was recently published in one of the top journals in HR, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, on job embeddedness in China.

The paper, co-authored with colleague Professor Carol Kulik, explored which HR practices embed employees in organisations and reduce turnover intentions.

"Our research found organisations hoping to use HR practices to deter employee turnover may experience the greatest success by using performance appraisal and reward systems to increase perceptions of organisational fit," she said.

"Performance appraisal includes employees having a high quality relationship with their immediate manager, having a manager who frequently talks about job performance, and their personal and work problems.

"These high quality relationships in turn played a key role in employee retention."

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