Meet Mary. She’s a motivated, hardworking employee. Mary’s been with her current company for more than three years. She feels like she’s paid fairly and receives great benefits, and she loves her job and co-workers. But Mary’s still looking for a new job with a new company.
What’s scary for a lot of employers is that Mary is not alone. An October 2015 Gallup poll of more than 13,000 employees found that the last time respondents changed roles in their careers, 93 percent also changed employers. Considering this, many employers are desperately trying to figure out why so many employees are leaving.
Employee retention is no longer only about making employees happy in the present—employers also have to consider employees’ satisfaction with the future.
Here are three reasons employees feel they need to leave a company and how you can inspire them to stick around:
1. Employers aren’t helping employees define career paths.
A 2015 LinkedIn report surveyed more than 10,500 workers who had changed jobs. It found that 59 percent of respondents did so because of better opportunities and a stronger career path. For perspective, only 54 percent took a new job because the compensation was better.
For employees, the ability to grow and continue on their career paths is extremely important. They’re waiting for employers to show them how they can do that within their current companies.
To help employees define their career paths, ask them where they need assistance. Everyone has their own goals and expectations for their career and, unless employers discuss this with their employees, it’s nearly impossible to be part of that growth.
Start a dialogue with each employee about what he or she would like to be doing in five, 10 and 15 years. Determine what skills they want to acquire or sharpen, and tell them which they need to be successful. Then, develop a plan and track their progress.
Most importantly, give employees the tools they need. Offer leadership training, mentorship programs and work experience in a variety of departments. This will help employees meet their professional goals and employers retain well-trained, high-performing talent.
2. Employees’ success isn’t tied to the company’s success.
Everybody likes to know that the work they do impacts their company. However, most companies compensate employees for their performance, not how they affect the company’s success. Employees are part of the process, not the result.
Giving employees stock options or shares of the profits rewards them for how their work has improved the company as a whole. It makes them feel like an integral part of the organization instead of just a cog in the machine. Receiving profit-shares or company stocks strengthens employers’ relationships with their workers. It tells employees that their employers recognize that the company’s future relies on the workers as much as it does on the founders or CEO.
3. Employers don’t promote from within.
In LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report, 32 percent of the 3,800 talent acquisition professionals surveyed said employee retention was a top priority for their organization. Surprisingly, internal hiring was only a priority for 12 percent. It’s no wonder the majority of employees want to leave their companies to advance.
If a new management position is available, don’t run to the job boards to find a candidate. Turn to current employees. Even if they don’t have all of the necessary skills and experience right now, current employees understand how the company works, as well as what their co-workers want and expect from a superior. These important insights can take an outsider months to understand.
The other benefit of promoting a high performer is that employers control how fast the transition is. This way, employers can ease them into new responsibilities and out of old ones at a pace that allows them to get their bearings in the new role. This chain of promotion is less jarring to the company.
For example, if Mary is promoted, she’ll still be in the office to train Jeff, the employee the company promoted to fill Mary’s old job. Jeff, in turn, can help Ken, who will be performing Jeff’s previous duties—and so on. Less time and resources can be spent on training outside employees and, as issues arise in the future, you’ll have an expert on hand to help.
What other factors push employees to new companies, and how can you address them to improve employee retention?
Andre Lavoie is CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.