Retaining Valued Employees

Retaining Valued Employees

Books

Rodger W. Griffeth & Peter W. Hom

Abstract

How do you keep valuable employees from leaving? With employee turnover at a ten-year high in the tightest labor market in recent memory, human resource professionals face this challenge daily. This book briefly summarizes the current research in the area of employee turnover and provides practical guidelines to implement proven strategies for reducing unwanted turnover. Topics covered include differentiating between functional and dysfunctional turnover, job enrichment, employee selection, orientation programs, compensation practices, easing conflicts between work and home, social integration, and managing exiting employees. Separate chapters are devoted to using employee surveys to predict turnover and diagnose turnover causes and reducin

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  • Advanced Topics in Organizational Behavior

    The Advanced Topics in Organizational Behavior series examines current and emerging issues in the field of organizational behavior. Written by researchers who are widely acknowledged subject area experts, the books provide an authoritative, up-to-date review of the conceptual, research, and practical implications of the major issues in organizational behavior.

    Editors: Julian Barling, Queen's University

    Kevin Kelloway, University of Guelph

    Editorial Board: Victor M. Catano, Saint Mary's University

    Cary L. Cooper, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology

    Daniel G. Gallagher, James Madison University

    Jean Hartley, University of Warwick

    Denise Rousseau, Carnegie-Mellon University

    Paul Spector, University of South Florida

    Lois E. Tetrick, University of Houston

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Preface

    In recent times, employee retention has become one of the leading challenges for organizations. Given today's extremely low unemployment rates and weak company loyalty (a response to pervasive downsizing by Corporate America), employees are increasingly “jumping ship” for better job opportunities elsewhere. Thus, employers are desperate for turnover remedies, and a growing number of consultants and authors are eager to offer solutions. We, too, have been increasingly approached by companies seeking advice on how to manage turnover. Yet, as scholars who have investigated turnover for more than 20 years, we have been frustrated by what academic writings offer in the way of suggestions for personnel retention. In our earlier book, we had reviewed the scholarly literature on turnover and found limited practical solutions. Most researchers have focused on predicting turnover or testing theories about why employees quit. Other than selection techniques, scholars rarely have validated organizational interventions to verify whether they truly can deter resignations.

    For different reasons, we also are distressed by the popular business press, which often relies on anecdotal evidence or testimonials to substantiate loyalty-building methods. Journalists or consultants often contend that certain techniques can lower turnover, citing some organizational success stories. Yet, their claims are rarely backed by “scientific” data; that is, we would have greater confidence in their proposed solutions if independent research established that the facility receiving the intervention had lower quit rates than other facilities not given this treatment (presuming relatively comparable facilities) or that the turnover rate in a particular facility had decreased over time since implementing the treatment. We acknowledge that the gold standard of double-blinded, controlled experiments is often impractical. Still, we cannot put much faith in practitioner suggestions based on informal observations or subjective opinion. After all, other branches of psychology—of which we (as organizational psychologists) are offshoots—would not prescribe psychotherapies or educational programs that have not been evaluated rigorously.

    Given our misgivings about academic and practitioner writings, this book strives to derive practical prescriptions from our own academic work and that of other turnover researchers. At the risk of offending our academic colleagues, we prescribe practical solutions that have not necessarily been fieldtested in controlled experiments. Nonetheless, these suggestions have some foundation in research studies, even though the underlying research may not meet the most rigorous standards of scientific proof. To illustrate, turnover investigators have shown that certain work experiences (e.g., routine, boring work tasks) or attitudes (pay dissatisfaction) predispose employees to quit. We argue that organizations might reduce turnover by following such research (e.g., using job enrichment or improving compensation). Though often based on correlational—rather than experimental—evidence, practical solutions grounded in research are nonetheless more valid than what underpins practitioner recommendations

    We believe that employers can derive useful prescriptions from turnover research methods and findings. Rather than allow practitioner writings to dominate advice-giving, this book attempts to bridge both academic and practitioner worlds. We hope to translate scholarly findings into practical suggestions for employers who face retention problems.

    Dedication

    For my family, Jacqui and Justin The two people who taught me most about loyalty

    — Rodger W. Griffeth

    Dedicated with love to my family, Cheree, Ernest, and Rose No turnover there

    —Peter W. Hom
  • Appendix A: The Job Rating Form

    This appendix reproduces the Job Rating Form (JRF), a companion instrument to the Job Diagnostic Survey designed to be used by supervisors of the focal job (or by outside observers) in rating job characteristics. The JRF provides measures of the key job dimensions; none of the scales measuring affective reactions to the job or work context is included. Scoring procedures for the JRF are included in Appendix C.

    Job Rating Form

    This questionnaire was developed as part of a Yale University study of jobs and how people react to them. The questionnaire helps to determine how jobs can be better designed by obtaining information about how people react to different kinds of jobs.

    You are asked to rate the characteristics of the following job:___

    _________

    Please keep in mind that the questions refer to the job listed above and not to your own job.

    On the following pages, you will find several different kinds of questions about the job listed above. Specific instructions are given at the start of each section. Please read them carefully. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete the entire questionnaire. Please move through it quickly.

    Section 1

    This part of the questionnaire asks you to describe the job listed above as objectively as you can. Try to make your description as accurate and as objective as you possibly can.

    A sample question is given below.

    A. To what extent does this job require the job incumbent to work with mechanical equipment?

    You are to circle the number that is the most accurate description of this job.

    If, for example, this job requires the incumbent to work with mechanical equipment a good deal of the time—but also requires some paperwork—you might circle the number 6, as was done in the example above.

    • To what extent does this job require the incumbent to work closely with other people (either “clients” or people in related jobs in your own organization)?

    • How much autonomy is there in this job? That is, to what extent does this job permit the incumbent to decide on his or her own how to go about doing the work?

    • To what extent does this job involve doing a “whole” and identifiable piece of work? That is, is the job a complete piece of work that has an obvious beginning and end? Or is it only a small part of the overall piece of work, which is finished by other people or by automatic machines?

    • How much variety is there in this job? That is, to what extent does the job require the worker to do many different things at work, using a variety of skills and talents?

    • In general, how significant or important is this job? That is, are the results of the work likely to significantly affect the lives or well-being of other people?

    • To what extent do managers or coworkers let the worker know how well he or she is doing in the job?

    • To what extent does doing the job itself provide the worker with information about his or her performance? That is, does the actual work itself provide clues about how well he or she is doing—aside from any “feedback” coworkers or supervisors may provide?

    Section 2

    Listed below are a number of statements that could be used to describe a job. You are to indicate whether each statement is an accurate or an inaccurate description of this job.

    Once again, please try to be as objective as you can in deciding how accurately each statement describes this job.

    Write a number in the blank beside each statement, based on the following scale:

    How accurate is the statement in describing this job?

    • The job requires the worker to use a number of complex or high-level skills.
    • The job requires a lot of cooperative work with other people.
    • The job is arranged so that the worker does not have the chance to do an entire piece of work from beginning to end.
    • Just doing the work required by the job provides many chances for the worker to figure out how well he or she is doing.
    • The job is quite simple and repetitive.
    • The job can be done adequately by a person working alone—without talking or checking with other people.
    • The supervisors and coworkers on this job almost never give the worker any “feedback” about how well he or she is doing in his or her work.
    • This job is one in which a lot of other people can be affected by how well the work gets done.
    • The job denies the worker any chance to use his or her personal initiative or judgment in carrying out the work.
    • Supervisors often let the worker know how well they think he or she is performing the job.
    • The job provides the worker the chance to completely finish the pieces of work he or she begins.
    • The job itself provides very few clues about whether or not the worker is performing well.
    • The job gives the worker considerable opportunity for independence and freedom in how he or she does the work.
    • The job itself is not very significant or important in the broader scheme of things.
    General Information
    • What is your name? ___
    • What is your own job title? ___
    • What is your age? (Check one)

      ___ under 20___ 40–49
      ___ 20–29___ 50–59
      ___ 30–39___ 60 or over

    • How long have you been in your present position? (Check one)

      ___ 0–½ year___ 3–5 years
      ___ ½ year–1 year___ 5–10 years
      ___ 1–2 years___ 10 or more years

    In the space below, please write any additional information about the job you rated that you feel might be helpful in understanding that job. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Appendix B: The Job Diagnostic Survey

    This questionnaire was developed as part of a Yale University study of jobs and how people react to them. The questionnaire helps to determine how jobs can be better designed, by obtaining information about how people react to different kinds of jobs.

    On the following pages you will find several different kinds of questions about your job. Specific instructions are given at the start of each section. Please read them carefully. It should take no more than 25 minutes to complete the entire questionnaire. Please move through it quickly.

    The questions are designed to obtain your perceptions of your job and your reactions to it.

    There are no trick questions. Your individual answers will be kept completely confidential. Please answer each item as honestly and frankly as possible.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Section 1

    This part of the questionnaire asks you to describe the job listed above as objectively as you can. Try to make your description as accurate and as objective as you possibly can.

    A sample question is given below.

    A. To what extent does your job require you to work with mechanical equipment?

    You are to circle the number that is the most accurate description of your job.

    If, for example, your job requires you to work with mechanical equipment a good deal of the time—but also requires some paperwork—you might circle the number 6, as was done in the example above.

    • To what extent does your job require you to work closely with other people (either “clients” or people in related jobs in your own organization)?

    • How much autonomy is there in your job? That is, to what extent does your job permit you to decide on your own how to go about doing the work?

    • To what extent does your job involve doing a “whole” and identifiable piece of work? That is, is the job a complete piece of work that has an obvious beginning and end? Or is it only a small part of the overall piece of work, which is finished by other people or by automatic machines?

    • How much variety is there in your job? That is, to what extent does the job require you to do many different things at work, using a variety of your skills and talents?

    • In general, how significant or important is your job? That is, are the results of your work likely to significantly affect the lives or well-being of other people?

    • To what extent do managers or coworkers let you know how well you are doing in your job?

    • To what extent does doing the job itself provide you with information about your work performance? That is, does the actual work itself provide clues about how well you are doing—aside from any “feedback” coworkers or supervisors may provide?

    Section 2

    Listed below are a number of statements that could be used to describe a job. You are to indicate whether each statement is an accurate or an inaccurate description of your job.

    Once again, please try to be as objective as you can in deciding how accurately each statement describes your job regardless of whether you like or dislike your job.

    Write a number in the blank beside each statement, based on the following scale:

    How accurate is the statement in describing your job?

    • The job requires me to use a number of complex or high-level skills.
    • The job requires a lot of cooperative work with other people.
    • The job is arranged so that I do not have the chance to do an entire piece of work from beginning to end.
    • Just doing the work required by the job provides many chances for me to figure out how well I am doing.
    • The job is quite simple and repetitive.
    • The job can be done adequately by a person working alone—without talking or checking with other people.
    • The supervisors and coworkers on this job almost never give me any “feedback” about how well I am doing in my work.
    • This job is one in which a lot of other people can be affected by how well the work gets done.
    • The job denies me any chance to use my personal initiative or judgment in carrying out the work.
    • Supervisors often let me know how well they think I am performing the job.
    • The job provides me the chance to completely finish the pieces of work I begin.
    • The job itself provides very few clues about whether or not I am performing well.
    • The job gives me considerable opportunity for independence and freedom in how I do the work.
    • The job itself is not very significant or important in the broader scheme of things.
    Section 3

    Now please indicate how you personally feel about your job.

    Each of the statements below is something that a person might say about his or her job. You are to indicate your own personal feelings about your job by marking how much you agree with each of the statements.

    Write a number in the blank for each statement, based on this scale:

    How much do you agree with the statement?

    • It's hard, on this job, for me to care very much about whether or not the work gets done right.
    • My opinion of myself goes up when I do this job well.
    • Generally speaking, I am very satisfied with this job.
    • Most of the things I have to do on this job seem useless or trivial.
    • I usually know whether or not my work is satisfactory on this job.
    • I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when I do this job well.
    • The work I do on this job is very meaningful to me.
    • I feel a very high degree of personal responsibility for the work I do on this job.
    • I frequently think of quitting this job.
    • I feel bad and unhappy when I discover that I have performed poorly on this job.
    • I often have trouble figuring out whether I'm doing well or poorly on this job.
    • I feel I should personally take the credit or blame for the results of my work on this job.
    • I am generally satisfied with the kind of work I do in this job.
    • My own feelings generally are not affected much one way or the other by how well I do on this job.
    • Whether or not this job gets done right is clearly my responsibility.
    Section 4

    Now please indicate how satisfied you are with each aspect of your job listed below. Once again, write the appropriate number in the blank beside each statement.

    How satisfied are you with this aspect of your job?

    • The amount of job security I have.
    • The amount of pay and fringe benefits I receive.
    • The amount of personal growth and development I get in doing my job.
    • The people I talk to and work with on my job.
    • The degree of respect and fair treatment I receive from my boss.
    • The feeling of worthwhile accomplishment I get from doing my job.
    • The chance to get to know other people while on the job.
    • The amount of support and guidance I receive from my superior.
    • The degree to which I am fairly paid for what I contribute to this organization.
    • The amount of independent thought and action I can exercise in my job.
    • How secure things look for me in the future of this organization.
    • The chance to help other people while at work.
    • The amount of challenge in my job.
    • The overall quality of the supervision I receive in my work.
    Section 5

    Now please think of the other people in your organization who hold the same job you do. If no one has exactly the same job as you, think of the job that is most similar to yours.

    Please think about how accurately each of these statements describes the feelings of those people about the job.

    It is quite all right if your answers here are different from those you used when you described your own reactions to the job. People often feel quite different about the same job.

    Once again, write a number in the blank for each statement, based on the scale:

    How much do you agree with the statement?

    • Most people on this job feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when they do the job well.
    • Most people on this job are very satisfied with the job.
    • Most people on this job feel that the work is useless or trivial.
    • Most people on this job feel a great deal of personal responsibility for the work they do.
    • Most people on this job have a pretty good idea of how well they are performing their work.
    • Most people on this job find the work very meaningful.
    • Most people on this job feel that whether or not the job gets done right is clearly their own responsibility.
    • People on this job often think of quitting.
    • Most people on this job feel bad or unhappy when they find that they have performed the work poorly.
    • Most people on this job have trouble figuring out whether they are doing a good or a bad job.
    Section 6

    Listed below are a number of characteristics that could be present on any job. People differ about how much they would like to have each one present in their own jobs. We are interested in learning how much you personally would like to have each one present in your job.

    Using the scale below, please indicate the degree to which you would like to have each characteristic present in your job.

    Note: The numbers on this scale are different from those used in previous scales.

    • High respect and fair treatment from my supervisor.
    • Stimulating and challenging work.
    • Chances to exercise independent thought and action in my job.
    • Great job security.
    • Very friendly coworkers.
    • Opportunities to learn new things from my work.
    • High salary and good fringe benefits.
    • Opportunities to be creative and imaginative in my work.
    • Quick promotions.
    • Opportunities for personal growth and development in my job.
    • A sense of worthwhile accomplishment in my work.
    Section 7

    People differ in the kinds of jobs they would most like to hold. The questions in this section give you a chance to say just what it is about a job that is most important to you.

    For each question, two different kinds of jobs are briefly described. You are to indicate which of these jobs you personally would prefer—if you had to make a choice between them.

    In answering each question, assume that everything else about the jobs is the same. Pay attention only to the characteristics listed.

    Two examples are given below.

    If you like working with people and working with equipment equally well, you would circle the number 3, as has been done in the example.

    Here is another example. This one asks for a harder choice—between two jobs that both have some undesirable features.

    If you would slightly prefer risking physical danger to working far from your home, you would circle number 2, as has been done in the example.

    Section 8

    Biographical Background
    • Sex: Male ___ Female ___
    • Age (check one):

      ___ under 20___ 40–49
      ___ 20–29___ 50–59
      ___ 30–39___ 60 or over

    • Education (check one):
      • ___ Grade School
      • ___ Some High School
      • ___ High School Degree
      • ___ Some Business College or Technical School Experience
      • ___ Some College Experience (other than business or technical school)
      • ___ Business College or Technical School Degree
      • ___ College Degree
      • ___ Master's or Higher Degree
    • What is your brief job title? ___

    Appendix C: Scoring Key for the Job Diagnostic Survey and the Job Rating Form

    The scoring manual for the Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) and the Job Rating Form (JRF) is presented below. For each variable measured by the JRF and JDS, the questionnaire items are averaged to yield a summary score for the variable are listed.

    Sections 1 and 2 (the measures of the job characteristics) are identical for the JDS and the JRF; therefore, the same scoring key is used for both instruments.

    Job Characteristics (For Both the JDS and the JRF)
    • Skill variety. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 4
      Section 2:No. 1
      No. 5 (reversed scoring—i.e., subtract the number entered by the respondent from 8)

    • Task identity. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 3
      Section 2:No. 11
      No. 3 (reversed scoring)

    • Task significance. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 5
      Section 2:No. 8
      No. 14 (reversed scoring)

    • Autonomy. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 2
      Section 2:No. 13
      No. 9 (reversed scoring)

    • Feedback from the job itself. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 7
      Section 2:No. 4
      No. 12 (reversed scoring)

    • Feedback from agents. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 6
      Section 2:No. 10
      No. 7 (reversed scoring)

    • Dealing with others. Average the following items:

      Section 1:No. 1
      Section 2:No. 2
      No. 6 (reversed scoring)

    Experienced Psychological States

    Each of the three constructs is measured both directly (Section 3) and indirectly via projective-type items (Section 5) (from JDS).

    • Experienced meaningfulness of the work. Average the following items:

      Section 3:No. 7
      No. 4 (reversed scoring)
      Section 5:No. 6
      No. 3 (reversed scoring)

    • Experienced responsibility for the work. Average the following items:

      Section 3:No. 8, No. 12, No. 15
      No. 1 (reversed scoring)
      Section 5:No. 4, No. 7

    • Knowledge of results. Average the following items:

      Section 3:No. 5
      No. 11 (reversed scoring)
      Section 5:No. 5
      No. 10 (reversed scoring)

    Affective Outcomes

    The first two constructs (general satisfaction and internal work motivation) are measured both directly (Section 3) and indirectly (Section 5); growth satisfaction is measured only directly (Section 4) (from JDS).

    • General satisfaction. Average the following items:

      Section 3:No. 3, No. 13
      No. 9 (reversed scoring)
      Section 5:No. 2
      No. 8 (reversed scoring)

    • Internal work motivation. Average the following items:

      Section 3:No. 2, No. 6, No. 10
      No. 14 (reversed scoring)
      Section 5:No. 1, No. 9

    • Growth satisfaction. Average the following items:

      Section 4: No. 3, No. 6, No. 10, No. 13

    Context Satisfactions

    Each of these short scales uses items from JDS Section 4 only.

    • Satisfaction with job security. Average the following items:

      Section 4: No. 1 and No. 11

    • Satisfaction with compensation (pay). Average the following items:

      Section 4: No. 2 and No. 9

    • Satisfaction with coworkers. Average the following items:

      Section 4: No. 4, No. 7, and No. 12

    • Satisfaction with supervision. Average the following items:

      Section 4: No. 5, No. 8, and No. 14

    Individual Growth Need Strength

    The JDS questionnaire yields two separate measures of growth need strength, one from Section 6 (the would like format) and one from Section 7 (the job choice format).

    • Would like format (Section 6). Average the six items from Section 6 listed below. Before averaging, subtract 3 from each item score; this will result in a summary scale ranging from 1 to 7. The items are No. 2, No. 3, No. 6, No. 8, No. 10, and No. 11.
    • Job choice format (Section 7). Each item in Section 7 yields a number from 1 to 5 (i.e., Strongly prefer A is scored 1, Neutral is scored 3, and Strongly prefer B is scored 5). Compute the need strength measure by averaging the 12 items as follows:

      No. 1, No. 5, No. 7, No. 10, No. 11, No. 12 (direct scoring)

      No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 6, No. 8, No. 9 (reversed scoring—i.e., subtract the respondent's score from 6)

      Note: To transform the job choice summary score from a 5-point scale to a 7-point scale, use this formula: Y= 1.5X – .5

    • Combined growth need strength score. To obtain an overall estimate of growth need strength based on both would like and job choice data, first transform the job choice summary score to a 7-point scale (using the formula given above), and then average the would like and the transformed job choice summary scores.
    Motivation Potential Score

    Appendix D: Job Characteristics Overall National Norms

    Job Characteristics
    Skill variety4.7
    Task identity4.7
    Task significance5.5
    Autonomy4.9
    Feedback from job4.9
    Feedback from agents4.1
    Dealing with others5.6
    Motivating Potential Score128
    NOTE: Based on the responses of 6,930 employees working in 876 different jobs in 56 organizations. The norms were computed by averaging the scores of employees who work on each of the 876 jobs and by computing overall means across those jobs (from Oldham, Hackman, & Stepina, 1979).

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    About the Authors

    Rodger W. Griffeth is Professor of Management in the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. He earned his PhD from the University of South Carolina, his MEd at Georgia State University and his BS at Old Dominion University. His primary interests are in the areas of organizational behavior and employee turnover. He has investigated how job enrichment can reduce turnover among part-time employees and how realistic job previews can improve retention among new professionals. Dr. Griffeth also has comprehensively reviewed the turnover literature using meta-analysis, examined how employee impressions of the job market influence their turnover decisions, and developed and tested turnover theories. Professor Griffeth authored a landmark article on turnover in Psychological Bulletin (with William Mobley) and won the 1992 Scholarly Achievement Award from the Human Resource Division of the Academy of Management for best published article (on testing turnover models with Peter Hom). He coauthored Employee Turnover with Peter Hom and has published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and the Academy of Management Journal. He currently serves as editor of Human Resources Management Review.

    Peter W. Hom is Professor of Management in the College of Business at Arizona State University (Tempe). He received his PhD from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. He has investigated theories of employee turnover in various occupations (industrial salesmen, retail sales personnel, and national guardsmen), designed realistic job previews to reduce reality shock and early quits among new nurses and accountants, estimated the economic costs of turnover for mental health agencies, and examined psychological commitment to new products in cross-functional design teams. Currently, he is studying the causes of turnover among Swiss bank personnel and Mexican factory workers. He has authored scholarly articles in the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology. He also coauthored Employee Turnover with Rodger Griffeth. He and Dr. Griffeth won the 1992 Scholarly Achievement Award from the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management for best published academic article in the field of human resources management. Dr. Hom has served on editorial boards for the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Management.


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