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Top 5 Traits That Make a Candidate More Likely to Stay

When it comes to retaining top talent, it's important to understand the true drivers behind why high performing and satisfied employees ultimately decide to go another direction. In the modern HR world, many would say that optimizing employee engagement is the way to go, when in reality, the research shows there are more important things we should be looking at to retain top performers. 

Below are the results from one of the largest turnover meta studies ever done, which aggregated insights across hundreds of independent studies, to help us understand what really drives employee turnover and employee retention

The table below shows the top traits responsible for keeping employees at their jobs the longest.

Turnover Predictors Based on Meta Study from Rubenstein et al 2018.

Drivers of Turnover

There are a few insights related to the meta study that should be noted:

  • First, you’ll notice employee engagement is on the far right. As mentioned previously, there are many factors that influence turnover more than employee engagement.
  • Second, you’ll notice that the majority of the turnover predictors listed are related to the person, or at least, person-job fit, not the job itself. In other words, these are things that can be screened for before a hiring decision is made.

The ability to screen candidates for the above criteria can have a large impact in your efforts to reduce turnover at your company. Of course, every company and position is unique so you’ll want to customize your approach, but the above criteria can be a great place to start.

Top 5 Traits That Make Candidates More Likely to Stay 

1. General Life & Career Satisfaction: The degree to which an individual likes other aspects relevant to employment, such as his or her career career or life in general.

2. Coping Ability: An individual’s abilities to manage internal and external demands that are perceived as exceeding available resources.

3. General Career CommitmentThe degree to which an individual experiences loyalty to targets other than the organization, such as his or her occupation or career.

4. Organizational CommitmentThe degree to which an individual experiences loyalty to the organization and desires to stay. Includes all three facets of organizational commitment: affective (a desire to stay), normative (an obligation to stay), and continuance (a need to stay) commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991).

5. Job FitCompatibility between an individual and a work environment that occurs when their characteristics are well matched.

Key Takeaway 

Most of the turnover predictors can be screened for before actually hiring an employee! This is great news for anyone trying to reduce turnover in their organization. Now that you know the top attribute of candidates that stay in a job, the next step is to start screening for those attributes. Check out our post title "5 Interview Questions Guaranteed to Reduce Turnover" to learn more about how to screen for these traits in your interviews.

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Rhett Nelson
Rhett has years of experience working with HR Professionals and Talent Acquisition Specialists from over 100 countries around the world. Working so closely with HR departments across a variety of industries, Rhett has a comprehensive understanding of HR best practices and effective methods to successfully reduce turnover and increase hiring optimization. With his assistance, HR departments from all over the world have been able to build a happier and healthier workforce.

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