Employee Motivation and Retention

This paper investigates four reasons behind employees’ intentions to leave their jobs. These reasons include lack of growth opportunities, low job satisfaction, unfair treatment of employees, and the lack of recognition of employees’ input. A potential solution that is based on existing literature regarding employee retention is determined for each of the causes. Proposed changes include skill training courses for employees, fulfillment of needs selected via Maslow’s theory, greater involvement of employees in the decision-making process, and promotion of positive attitude towards employees among leaders. These policies for a company that aims to reduce its turnover rates are analyzed for their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Moreover, continuous analysis of employees’ motivation and leadership decisions is vital to prevent any significant damage to a company’s workforce. It is determined that the implementation of these policies will reduce turnover rates, although some structural changes within a company may be required depending on the severity of a situation.


Nowadays, companies often operate in highly competitive environments where it may be challenging to find a suitable candidate for a job and ensure that they stay with a company. Companies that struggle to keep turnover rates low will inevitably find themselves outpaced by their competitors, as resigning employees harm a company’s financial situation (Saylor Academy, 2012). However, it is not always clear how to increase employee retention to an acceptable point, especially when such an action requires an in-depth analysis of motivational factors. This essay will review four reasons why employees leave their jobs and propose measures for companies that will allow them to reduce the impact of said reasons.

Reasons for Employee Retention and Theories of Their Mediation

It is in a company’s best interest to keep turnover rates as low as possible. Any increase behind any increase of this number must be thoroughly examined in order to determine the actual reason behind such a change. Various reasons will require significantly different approaches for their mediation, which not only depends on a company’s industry or the decisions of human resource departments but also on the personality of leaders and their followers. Several key reasons behind employees’ decisions to leave their job have been selected for this analysis (Table 1).

Table 1: Employee Retention

Reasons employees leave their job Workplace policies that impact selected reasons
1. Lack of professional growth and development Educational courses for employees, clear statements regarding future career growth.
2. Low overall job satisfaction Analysis and fulfillment of lacking motivational factors via Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
3. Unfair treatment of employees Assistance with the establishment of realistic goals and deadlines by leaders with the help of employees.
4. Feeling unappreciated as an employee Promotion of Theory Y assumptions among leaders within a company via training courses.

While all these reasons are crucial to consider, some are statistically more significant. One of the most dissatisfying situations for an employee is the lack of new opportunities for career advancement (Schwantes, 2017). Feeling stuck in the same position despite skill growth will force a worker to seek another job. The solution to this issue begins with the initial interview, where a company can outline possibilities provided for those who take a position in it. Assistance with education must be incorporated into a company’s organizational culture to eradicate this problem.

Job satisfaction is a centerpiece of factors that affect employee intentions to stay in a company. Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs that can be used by a leader to ensure that employees are content with their position in a company. It provides a clear and gradual explanation of motivational factors that a leader needs to identify and find a way to satisfy to ensure that an employee stays within the company (Sadri & Bowen, 2011). By analyzing the unmet needs of a worker, an efficient leader can construct a personalized plan for incentivizing better performance.

Rising tensions between employees and leaders will lead to increased turnover rates. Grotto et al. (2017) state that “employees do not leave jobs, they leave managers” (p. 462). The issue may also come from a leader’s approach to motivating their followers. Managers may set unrealistic expectations that will adversely affect employees’ perceptions of an entire firm (Schwantes, 2017). Such leaders may not recognize the importance of input from their followers, whether it is done intentionally or not. It is a vital factor that requires assessment of both line-level and managerial employees since hierarchical distance may lead to such an issue. A discussion of future goals between leaders and followers is a feasible solution to this problem.

McGregor’s Theories X and Y provide an alternative method of the analysis of employee motivation. The author of this theory focused his research on the fact that some managers tend to take either a negative or a positive view on motivation to work among their followers (Gürbüz et al., 2014). It promotes a supportive attitude that aims to establish a connection between employees and leaders, as McGregor explains that recognition of individuals’ ambitions is a fundamental step towards organizational cohesiveness (Gürbüz et al., 2014). Therefore, training for better inclusiveness of employees into decision-making processes or, if necessary, replacement of leaders to those who are less prone to authoritarian practices is a viable option.

SWOT Analysis of Proposed Theories

Assistance with education serves two purposes simultaneously, as it satisfies employees’ need to improve their skills and adds value to a company. Although it comes with increased costs per employee, it gives them the motivation to develop new skills. Workers may take on new tasks or excel at their primary roles after such training, giving a company a competitive advantage. However, overqualified employees who are well-trained yet did not receive an expected promotion may leave a firm in search of a better salary or more challenging tasks.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a centerpiece for many policies that aim to help a company to retain its employees. This theory may serve as a hint to a better way of motivating employees when the current one is not feasible or efficient. However, its graduality may also be a hindrance, as an employee can have more than a single need at a time. Moreover, some employees may aim for higher needs and skip some of the lower ones. Overall, this theory gives an opportunity for a leader to pinpoint what needs to be done to decrease turnover intentions, although it leaves some aspects out of the scope.

A company must possess a sufficiently skilled workforce to achieve its business goals. Sustainability is a critical factor when making decisions for long-term projects, and giving employees a voice when creating such a goal will ensure that they are committed to it (Yan et al., 2021). However, the possible downside of this involvement is a slowdown of the decision-making process. Employees may have a different perspective that may reveal new possibilities for a company. This method also leaves a potential for leaks, as more people will be involved in discussions that are critical for a company’s competitive edge.

McGregor’s Theories X and Y can reveal crucial information regarding the views of a leader on its employees. By ensuring that Theory Y is prioritized among leaders, many companies can achieve decreasing turnover rates as employees will feel that their input is valued. They will be more loyal to an organization whose leaders are more socially accessible (GĂĽrbĂĽz et al., 2014). The theory has a downside, though, as it might not be suitable for companies where workers primarily perform physical tasks or other low-skilled labor. Training courses give an opportunity to increase leaders’ impact on a company’s competitiveness. Although additional training can allow managers to get a better qualification, it might also lead to their resignation in search of a better job opportunity.


In conclusion, it is vital for a company to keep close contact with its employees to analyze their behavior, ensure that they are motivated, and predict their intentions to leave. While looking for any changes in turnover rates to ensure that a reason behind them is eliminated in time is beneficial, the damage by many of these reasons occurs gradually and may be challenging to stop immediately. The usage of an exit interview is a vital step in this process, yet it is often very costly to find a replacement for a lost worker (Saylor Academy, 2012). Therefore, a company must use strategies that will preemptively act as mediators for these potential issues among its employees. There are other reasons for employees’ dissatisfaction with their job that may lead to their resignation, and their impact may be more detrimental depending on the industry (Saylor Academy, 2012). Nonetheless, the four causes that are reviewed in this essay pose a challenging task for a company that faces a decreasing workforce.


Grotto, A. R., Hyland, P. K., Caputo, A. W., & Semedo, C. (2017). Employee turnover and strategies for retention. The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention, 443-472. Web.

Gürbüz, S., Şahin, F., & Köksal, O. (2014). Revisiting of Theory X and Y. Management Decision, 52(10), 1888-1906. Web.

Sadri, G., & Bowen, R. C. (2011). Meeting employee requirements. Industrial Engineer, 43(10), 44-48. Web.

Saylor Academy. (2012). Chapter 7: Retention and motivation. In Human resource management. Web.

Schwantes, M. (2017). Why are your employees quitting? A study says it comes down to any of these 6 reasons. Inc.com. Web.

Yan, Z., Mansor, Z. D., Choo, W. C., & Abdullah, A. R. (2021). How to reduce employees’ turnover intention from the psychological perspective: A mediated moderation model. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 14, 185-197. Web.

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