4 Signs That an Employee Will Never Leave Their Company

Jun 24, 2022

It’s a recruiter’s job to help candidates find long-term career opportunities with companies that value them and empower them to do their best work. A good recruiter is skilled at identifying pain points in a candidate’s current employment situation and helping them understand when it could be a great time to move forward on their career path. For example, candidates who express feeling undervalued, having no room to grow, or being unsatisfied with the quality of their projects are probably going to be open to considering a move to a company that better aligns with their long-term vision for their careers.

On the flip side, there are certain signs that indicate an employee will not be open to leaving their current company because it does align with their long-term vision. Here are four examples:

“My family loves this company.”

When a recruiter hears that a candidate’s family feels valued by and engaged with a company, they know that it would be incredibly difficult for that candidate to make a career move. When it comes to making any job change, especially one that requires a relocation, a candidate’s spouse holds 51% of the decision-making power. If that candidate has kids, that affects the decision even more. So when a company includes an employee’s family in company events, creates a culture of family and fellowship, and builds relationships with employee families, that’s often a sign that the employee is not going to be eager to leave the company behind.

“I have a lot of friends at this company.”

Relationships matter, and having positive professional relationships that become true friendships is a common reason that employees cite for being very happy in their workplaces. Leaving great people behind is a lot harder than leaving a job, even one you enjoy. Here’s an example given by a candidate: “I can’t leave. I can’t leave these people. When I was going through a divorce, these were the only people that were here for me. And every day, they supported me through that tough time in my life.” Companies that create a strong culture of fellowship and camaraderie are setting themselves up to hold onto their employees for the long term, because employees who truly enjoy and bond with the people they spend their workdays with are much less likely to consider new career opportunities.

“I love the work - it’s such a challenge.”

When it comes down to it, an employee can’t just love the people at their job - they have to also enjoy their job. Challenging work creates a sense of excitement in employees; they want to show up to work every day. Employees that are challenged are more productive and engaged than those who are underchallenged, and they also feel valued by their companies because they are trusted with increasingly difficult assignments. Sometimes this means the size and scope of projects, the opportunity to develop something new for the company, or the chance to learn a new skill and grow professionally. Employees want to know that they’re delivering value to their companies and growing in their careers, so companies that find out what challenges each employee and provide those opportunities will likely have lower turnover rates than companies that don’t.

“This company has earned my trust.”

Of all the reasons an employee might have to stay with their company, this may be the most important: they trust their employer. A candidate told this story that shows the importance of trust: He had recently relocated for a job to his wife’s hometown, a place he was unfamiliar with. He was driving home in a torrential downpour in a rental car, and he got a flat tire. He pulled over on the freeway, frantically trying to change the tire in the middle of a storm. He saw a car pull up and a man in a business suit got out and helped him change the tire, chatting and making him laugh as they made the best of the situation.

The man who helped him? The president of his new company. That leader stopped and helped an employee he barely knew, having only met him one time, because that’s the kind of person he was, and that’s the kind of culture he built at his company. Ten years after that, the employee was still committed to the company and said, “I’d never leave this company.” He trusted his company and its leaders, and he felt safe and valued there.

None of these examples involve money, and there’s a reason for that: people don’t usually stay at a company because of the money. Competitive salaries are important, but they do not foster loyalty and commitment in employees. When a candidate tells a recruiter any of these four things, however, that recruiter knows the candidate is right where they belong and won’t be open to making a career move.

About the Author

Charlie Kimmel

As President and CEO, Charlie has dedicated his 25+ year career to executive search at Kimmel & Associates. Charlie joined Kimmel & Associates in 1990 as a Recruiter. In 1993, he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a BA in History.

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