Effective retention of employees may have to do with your community’s culture

By Maura G. Robinson, Sociologist, MPA

Retention of employees has become a major issue for many companies. Company perks have become very creative and keep on getting bigger every day; and still employees are leaving companies at alarming numbers. Nearly every industry has a labor shortage. This shift could be happening due to baby boomers retiring in masses, and the generation X is one of our smallest. Our communities can play a major role in the retention of our employees.

What is your community doing to make local and out of town employees welcome? If you haven’t thought of the correlation between organizational culture and community culture I would like to make you aware of what could be happening. 

Most organizations have community volunteer programs for their employees to promote brand recognition and good neighbor relationships, but how is the community embracing those employees when they are not representing your organization and just living in their communities?

A Gallup survey reports on residents’ desire to move to a different states breaks down data as follow: Highest desire to move, above average to move, average to move and lowest desire to move. For instance, Indiana is above average for our residents to leave the state.

Let’s look at some potential causes why your employees are leaving our communities.

  • Under utilization of Local talent.
  • Local talent is overlooked for top level management positions.
  • Local and out of town talent flee your communities looking for opportunities to have a better job and a sense of community at other states.
  • Lack of mentors in your communities to make local and out of town talent feel welcome and part of the community.
  • Local and out of town talent may walk into toxic corporate cultures.
  • Some professionals including women and people from the culture of differences feel their talent is underutilized.
  • Events, marketing and media within the community do not represent the different generations, life styles, abilities, gender, racial, ethnic, cultural populations, etc. within the community.
  • Areas of the community are not accessible to employees with disabilities.
  • The community mentality of them vs. us. 
  • Lack of mentoring programs in the community by established business entities for local and out of town talent.
  • Lack of promoting local talent by established business entities.

In improving employee retention one may look at the community amenities, or the lack of them, but in reality the sense of belonging and feeling welcome either makes an employee stay or leave our organizations.