What retains employees? If you guessed money, you’d only be partially right. While salary surely contributes, workers stay in jobs for many reasons. If you’re concerned about retaining employees, appeal to factors other than money.

A recent article in Gallup’s Business Journal indicated that employees who are engaged in the business are less likely to stray. In fact, 54% of those who feel disengaged would consider leaving for a raise of 20% or less, while only 37% of those who feel fully engaged would consider leaving for the same raise.

Too many employees have found that it’s not always worth jumping ship to earn more. The new working environment may be more demanding, and/or the employee may have less input and authority.

Giving employees responsibility and the authority to make decisions independently are factors that engage people. Everyone wants to feel like they have some control over the work they do. You could easily achieve this by delegating tasks to your employees. For example, appoint one of the opticians to be the frame buyer. In this role, this person would be responsible for getting the opinions of the doctors and opticians on the eyewear they’d like to see, arrange for vendors to call on some cycle and buy for your office(s) following guidelines you establish.

You can also appoint someone as the office educator. That person would be responsible for finding or developing educational materials for your team members. For example, they might create a learning program on free-form progressive lenses, how to sell sunwear as a medical necessity or digital eyestrain and the products used to relieve it.

When employees don’t feel engaged, they feel powerless and unappreciated. This often happens when they don’t get along with their manager. It’s surprising how many employees leave a job to get away from their boss.

Employee well-being is another element of retention, and salary is only part of this. Other factors include a sense of purpose, the social environment of the workplace, a sense of community, and the physical comfort of employees and the company’s concern for it. Finding ways to improve these factors goes a long way to retaining your team members.

Money isn’t everything, and you’ll find that creating a congenial, engaging and supportive environment in your office will go a long way toward retaining your employees.


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