Retention Red Flags: Many Employers Missing the Warning Signs

Survey: More Than 4 in 10 Canadian Workers Consider Quitting; Executives Don’t Recognize Why

Toronto, ON – More than four in 10 (43 per cent) Canadian workers in a recent survey from global staffing firm Robert Half said they’re likely to look for a new job within the next year. But employers don’t seem overly concerned about turnover. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of CFOs polled said they had no retention worries.

Part of the retention challenge for executives is understanding why a good employee might want to leave. CFOs reported the number-one reason they thought good employees would resign was due to limited growth potential. However this doesn’t ring true for workers, who cited inadequate salary and benefits as the top reason they would quit.

“Companies run the risk of losing strong team members if they become complacent about employee satisfaction,” said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. “Managers should seek regular feedback from their teams to understand their needs, and be prepared to adapt retention strategies to suit evolving work trends and preferences.”

Employees were asked, “How likely are you to look for a new job in the next 12 months?” Their responses:

Very likely


Somewhat likely


Somewhat unlikely


Very unlikely





CFOs were asked, “Which one of the following is most likely to cause good employees to quit their jobs?”*

Workers were asked, “Which one of the following is most likely to cause you to quit your job?”

Limited opportunities for career growth or advancement



Inadequate salary and benefits



Lack of recognition



Unhappiness with management






Bored with their job



Don’t know/no answer






*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

View a slideshow of the full survey findings, including where companies experience the most turnover and steps they’re taking to retain staff.

“Retention should be an ongoing and evident priority,” added Scileppi. “Show that your company is taking steps to enhance employee happiness in an effort to keep hard-to-replace staff motivated and loyal.”

Robert Half highlights five tips to reduce turnover:

  1. Gauge job satisfaction. Don’t presume all is well. Ask people what they think about their work, such as how interesting or challenging they find it. Regular one-on-one meetings are effective, but for brutally honest feedback, such as worker happiness with management, consider conducting an anonymous survey.
  2. Increase salaries. It’s no secret that money talks — and persuades or changes minds. If it’s been some time since you’ve evaluated your company’s compensation structure, benchmark current employee wages against sources like the Robert Half Salary Guides. Strive to offer above-average compensation for your city and industry.
  3. Leverage bonuses. These financial incentives are one way to retain highly skilled team members, especially if your company is undergoing a major change like a merger or acquisition. In addition to merit-based rewards, look for opportunities to award spot bonuses following key projects or periods of extraordinary performance.
  4. Help employees recharge. Even well-compensated staff are more likely to quit if they’re continually stressed and overworked. Increase the chances of keeping staff by allowing them the freedom they crave. Think autonomy, flextime, remote work, on-site amenities and generous paid time off.
  5. Show them the way. If employees don’t see an obvious path upward within the company, they’ll make their own way — out the door. Keep today’s top performers and tomorrow’s leaders motivated by having regular discussions about in-house growth prospects, as well as your company’s willingness to invest in their future.

Watch this video for more employer retention tips.

About the Research

The surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. The survey of workers includes responses from more than 400 Canadian professionals age 18 and over and employed in office environments. The CFO survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada.

About Robert Half

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has 325 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search and management tools at For career and management advice, follow our blog at Follow Robert Half Canada on Twitter at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]