You'll probably have conversations with clients about why employees leave.

They might be thinking about holding focus groups with theiremployees to establish what they look for in an employer - a logical response to being in a tough market for finding and retaining staff.  You should congratulate them on treating staff this way and on realising that employing people is a market and you need a unique selling proposition.

Then you might need to talk them through the sort of things they feel would make a difference, like an extra day of holiday or better overtime rates or a bonus scheme for employees. 

Both of these approaches seem completely rational in the circumstances but I think display a lack of understanding about why people move between organisations.

It is rarely for money.  Only if the rewards are seen to be unfair (by reference to peers inside or outside the organisation) do people leave for more.  Sometimes it may be because they don’t see a career path – again, this may be about money on the face of it but actually it’s about progression and recognition.

People join organisations because they want to be part of something that looks exciting and worthwhile.  They leave because it turns out to be frustrating, boring and stressful.  This may be caused by erratic, intrusive, bullying or disengaged supervision, inadequate tools, systems and resources, a dysfunctional team environment – or anything else that prevents an employee from succeeding and results in a repeated, pervasive sense of failure.

What keeps people engaged is repeated success and a feeling (reinforced by customer feedback) that the team and individual are great at what they do.

It’s much easier to concoct a bonus scheme than it is to build a winning team – but the latter is what attracts and keeps great employees.