The factors effecting key employee retention

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The competition to retain the key employees is fierce. It has become very crucial to retain the key employees as they are the people who help the organisation to achieve its strategic business objectives. When an employee is hired a significant cost is incurred behind the hiring process but still cost is not the reason of retaining the employees it's the knowledge and experience which key employee acquired during their tenure period.

Academic Journals

Journal of American Academy of Business

The Academy of Management Journal

The Academy of Management Executive

Management Research News

Applied H.R.M. Research

Area of Research

To identify the factors influencing in retaining key employees in the banking sector of Pakistan.

Literature Review

This title is based on researches based on past related to the topic employee retention. The aim of this title is to provide the ground for the research.

(Ramlall, 2003) when an employee is hired, a significant cost is incurred behind the hiring process, so it has become very crucial to retain the employees and when more employees quit the job it impacts the organization in a long term as well which constrain the organization to achieve its strategic objectives of the business and also effect the innovation and consistency of an organization which effects the organization completely and profit get suffered. It's not only the cost which matters the organization when an employee leave but also the knowledge which the employee has acquired during his tenure. In order to retain employees, organization should know that how much their employees are committed with the organization and should provide the employees with such an environment where they want to stay. There are many factors due to which employees are most likely to do their jobs but the most favourable factors are location of the company, compensation, the job itself, the security, organizational culture, challenge, training and development, empowerment and attractive benefits. The factors which make employees to leave the job are salary, job recognition, in effective leadership, inadequate emphasis on teamwork, not having the opportunity for flexible work schedule, lack of trust in senior management, inadequate opportunity for training and development and low overall job satisfaction the most significant factors which employee choose were salary at the top then lack of career advancement opportunities. The job itself is a key to employee motivation and the factors like skill variety, task identity, task significance and feedback enhances the motivation. To retain the critical employees is important because they perform more efficiently than the average workers and increases the productivity, motivation and company's output and helps in achieving the competitive advantage over the current and potential competitors. To retain the critical employees and hinders turnover organization should do some proactive efforts.

According to (Mitchell & Holtom, 2001) the voluntary turnover is might be due to personal reasons, asks to do something which is against ones belief and etc. Turnover is considered as a problem for both individual and organization due to the cost which is faced by both of them. For an individual it is a problem because a new job has all the things new in it i.e. the environment, colleagues, supervisors and etc and it requires time and adjustments to set in a new work setup and for an organization it is a problem because when an employee leaves the organization he/she takes the knowledge and experience with them and sometimes employee develop such strong rapport with the clients which when leaves might have adverse effect on the clients and the other costs include the whole replacement process. It is very important for the organization to retain the talent and to retain the employees which are valuable and cannot be replaced by another. Job satisfaction and job alternatives are the two major factors to consider as an employee is satisfied with the job economically, work environment and growth in the organization the less the chances to leave the organization, and the more an employee is dissatisfied with the job he/she goes for the other alternatives and many likely to quit the job. Job satisfaction is more important for an organization to retain employees than the job alternatives. As job satisfaction can be provided by the organization but have control on job alternatives is not possible. Shocks i.e. events which make employees to leave might be positive and negative as well. Job offers is a positive shock which make the employee to quit the job and the events like poor appraisals, mergers and changes in compensation plan are considered as negative shocks. The job embeddedness is necessary in the job which consists of links, fit and sacrifice. In links, employees are encouraged to build their own networks with the clients. Many organizations consider these links important on the job and encourage employees to develop links with the clients. Fit is described as more the employee feels fit in the job the less are the chances to leave the job, and this fit is more important at the initial stage when a new employee joins the job because according to one recent survey conducted by Caliper reported that 40 percent of the employees leave the job because they feel unfit for the job. Organizations widely use flex-time options to encourage employees fit with off-the-job environment as well. According to one of the retention champion companies should recruit their good performers and their jobs should be customized. Finally sacrifice embeds the employees as if they leave the job what incentives and benefits they have to sacrifice. Many organizations have long term development programs for their employee and if the employees leave the job they have to give up them. Sacrifice includes the financial incentives as well e.g. retention bonuses, retirement funds, stock options and golden handcuffs. Such incentives help in retaining the employees. Different companies use different approaches to retain the employees e.g. some companies have long term development plans for the employees which they make with the participation of the employees. Some companies provide the employees with the personal development funds to retain top employees and employees with the help of this fund can get training on any topic by which they can enhance their performance. So job embeddedness helps in employee retention. A person who is dissatisfied with his job and has a lower organizational commitment will soon quit the job even the organization is paying millions of dollars to him/her. Retention cannot be achieved solely through money other internal and external factors should be considered. When developing a retention plan company's leader must survey all the factors and choose those factors which will be helpful in keeping the employees.

(Guthrie, 2001) a significant investment is required when organizations extensively uses high-involvement work practices. Investments in human capital are more useful when it gives results in the long run and increases the productivity. Organizations use high-involvement work practices when employees play key role to the organizational success. By doing so it also helps in retaining employees and helps in avoiding turnover. Employees are considered as more critical when organization uses high work involvement practices because such organization is employee-centric where everything revolves around the employees. The sense of responsibility and accountability of the task. Human resource department of the organizations which are employee-centric develop and support the employees to self-manage and self-program. Human resource practices helps in achieving the competitive advantage by encouraging employees to make such contributions to the success of the organization which is unique, valuable and hard for the competitors to copy and employees which contribute in such a way becomes critical for the organization and impose a significant cost if they leave the organization. There is a strong correlation between the employee retention and productivity where human resource makes the employees more committed with the organization. High work involvement practices impacts on the productivity of the organization that when employees are highly involve in the organization employees tends to leave less and when employees are not highly involve in the organization they tend to leave more. Employees who are extensively involve in work practices have the specialized knowledge due to the experience and tenure and cannot be replaced easily.

(Curtis & Wright, 2001) describe that staff turnover depends upon the nature of the job. If the job is of fast food restaurant then the young staffs is required and for which turnover is necessary, but for the job associated with expertise it's important to retain employees. When an employee is hired an extensive cost is incurred behind the whole process. But some employees leave the job after few days which have an adverse effect on organization. An organization must be able to provide such an environment where employees can make themselves committed. The more an employee is committed with the organization the more he/she will be attached with the organization and likely to do more hard work. The employees will be more emotional if they feel it in the team; the encouragement from the manager; feels to have fair treatment getting positive and fair feedback on their work, and feel valuable by employee involvement and participation. Employees will be more committed with an organization if they get competitive pay from the employer, get wider career opportunities, get flexible work options and get flexible benefits. Designing job is such a way where employees can maximize skill variety, task significance, anatomy and feedback and gets proper training whenever required can make them more committed to a job.

(Ramlall, 2004) explained employees retention practices with respect to motivation theories which helps in increasing organization performance. It is very necessary to retain the critical employees as according to one study if 10 managerial and professional employees leave the job it costs about $1 million to the organization. Knowledge is one of the valuable assets for the organization and also helps in customer satisfaction. Knowledge management give chances in increasing the organizational performance.

Contextual Framework

(Mitchell & Holtom, 2001) indicated that the competition to retain key employees is intense. They stated that turnover is a problem because it imposes extensive costs on both individual and organisations employees always are not necessarily retained through money; there are several factors which keep employees to do their work and it is the leader job to select the right factors to retain the employees which are fruitful for both employees and organisation.

(Ramlall, 2003) describe the reasons for choosing the corporation as an employee and potential reasons for leaving the organisation and stated that it the critical employees will be lost the company suffers in terms of output, efficiency, motivation and productivity. Eventually if an organisation is able to retain its key employees then the company could achieve its strategic business objectives and if organisations are proactive in retaining its right employees that understand their needs and wants then the chance of losing the key employee can be reduced.

(Curtis & Wright, 2001) stated that if employees are quitting their jobs rapidly and the turnover rate is very high then it would be harmful for the factors such as quality, customer service which lead to competitive advantage and thereby inhibiting business growth which eventually bring a decline in the business. The managers and other key staff should recognize the value of retaining key employees and employee commitment as there is a direct relationship between employee retention and employee commitment.



Banks play very optimistic and significant role in the overall economic growth of the country. Pakistan has a well-developed banking system, which includes a wide variety of foundations ranging from a central bank to commercial banks. The country started without any meaningful banking system in 1947 but observed spectacular growth in the first two decades. Banking started in Pakistan after the bold decision of formulation of SBP on July 30, 1948. By 1970, it had obtained a successful banking sector. In 1974 banks were nationalized, in the expectation that new era of growth could be attained through it.

Nationalization of banks in the seventies was a major trouble to domestic banking industry of the country, which transformed the whole features of the banking industry. Nationalization of banking industry brought aggressive changes in the external value of rupee.

The government of Pakistan allowed small private sector banks to run in the country, which indulge in doubtful policies to promote business. The public sector banking, which form the backbone, thus continued to suffer because of their approach, size and carried over liabilities. In the in the meantime, western banks started coming into the business. They, with the backing of ruling elite, focused on the big business, making local banks to do the routine business t. This reduced the revenue of the local banks.

The banking system is going through a hard phase due to political interference in the functioning of the nationalized banks by the different governments in the past.



3.1 Research Aim

The purpose of this research is to determine the factors influencing in retaining key employees, how organisations manage key employee retention and what are the factors which make employees to quit their jobs. In order to reach this purpose research questions were developed and a literature review was conducted to get the conceptual framework for the data to be conducted for this study. A qualitative research approach following the phenomenology research design has been chosen to find the answers of the research questions. The factors which were identified during the research to retain the key employees are motivation, job satisfaction, participative environment, career opportunities, training, benefits and fair treatment.

3.2 Research Questions

What are the most influencing factors in retaining the key employees?

What are the factors which make the employees to quit their jobs?

3.3 Research Objectives

To identify the employee retaining factors in organisation.

To determine the factors which make employees to give up their jobs.

To identify the factors that keep employees to do their jobs under effective retention policy.



The 20th Century begins with one major research to educational research quantitative research-and ended with two major approaches quantitative and qualitative research.

Research lies somewhere on the continuum from quantitative to qualitative research (Reichardt & Cook, 1979). Qualitative Research is a type of research in which the research lies on the views of participants; asks broad, general questions; collect data consisting largely of words (or text) from participants; describe and analyze these words for themes; and conduct the inquiry in a subjective based manner. Qualitative research explores attitudes, activities and practices through such techniques as interviews or center groups. It endeavors to get an in-depth view from members. As it is thoughts, activities and practices which are important, fewer people take part in the research, but the connection with these people have a tendency to last lot longer. Under the roof of qualitative research there are many different methodologies.

Quantitative research generates statistics through the use of large-scale analysis research, using techniques such as questionnaires or planned interviews. If a market researcher has clogged you on the streets, or you have filled in a questionnaire which has arrived through the post, this falls under the umbrella of quantitative research. This type of research reaches many more people, but the contact with those people is much quicker than it is in qualitative research.

Over the years there has been a large amount of complex discussion and argument surrounding the topic of research methodology and the theory of how inquiry should proceed. Much of this debate has centered on the issue of qualitative versus quantitative inquiry - which might be the best and which is more 'scientific'. Different methodologies become popular at different social, political, historical and civilizing times in our development and in my opinion, all methodologies have their specific strengths and weaknesses. These should be recognized and addressed by the examiner. Indeed if you were to do so, it would help you to think about your research methodology in considerable depth.

4.1 Research Philosophy

The approach which is chosen for this research is qualitative research.

According to (Denzin & Lincoln, 2002), qualitative research involves in interpretive and naturalistic approach: " this means that qualitative researches study things in their natural selling's, attempting to make sense of, or to interpret, phenomenon in terms of the meaning people bring to them.

The topic of the research is the factors influencing in retaining the key employees which is related more with the perceptions and human behaviour of the employees that how employee` perceive these factors which is subjective in nature and an in depth study.

4.2 Research Design

Research design is a master plan specifying the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing the needed information. It is a framework or blueprint that plans the actions for the research project (G.,Ziknumd, 2002).

The research design used here is phenomenology. Phenomenology literally means the study of phenomena. It is a way of describing something that exists as part of the world in which we live. Phenomenon may be events, situations, experiences or concepts (Beverley Hancock).

Phenomenology word is hard to articulate and those who listen to the word for the first time often ask the meaning of it first.

The seven widely accepted features of the Phenomenological Approach are:

1. Phenomenologist's tend to oppose the recognition of unobservable matters and grand systems erected in speculative thinking;

2. Phenomenologist's tend to counter naturalism (also called objectivism and positivism), which is the worldview growing from modern natural science and technology that has been spreading from Northern Europe since the revitalization;

3. Positively speaking, phenomenologist's have a tendency to give explanation for cognition (and some also valuation and accomplishment) with reference to what Edmund Husserl called Evidenz, which is awareness of a matter itself as disclosed in the most clear, distinct, and adequate way for something of its kind;

4. Phenomenologist's tend to believe that not only objects in the natural and cultural worlds, but also ideal objects, such as numbers, and even conscious life itself can be made evident and thus known;

5. Phenomenologist's tend to hold that inquiry ought to focus upon what might be called "encountering" as it is directed at objects and, correlatively, upon "objects as they are encountered" (this terminology is not widely shared, but the emphasis on a dual problematic and the reflective approach it requires is);

6. Phenomenologist's tend to recognize the role of description in universal, a priori, or "eidetic" terms as prior to explanation by means of causes, purposes, or grounds; and

7. Phenomenologist's tend to discuss whether or not what Husserl calls the transcendental phenomenological epochê and reduction is useful or even achievable.

As the focus of the study is to find out the factors which are helpful in employees retention, the research design that has been chosen is phenomenology because here the experiences of the professionals has to be shared that which factors they feel that are more important in key employee retention.

4.3 Research Purpose

(Yin, 1994) mentions that scientific research has three purposes: explore, describe or explain. (Eriksson & Paul, 1997) put this distinction between purposes into categories. They divide research into three different categories; exploratory, descriptive & explanatory.

4.3.1 Exploratory Research

It provides greater understandings of the concepts or crystallizes a problem, rather than providing precise measurement or quantification.

4.4 Research Strategy

This research is qualitative in nature in which the factors influencing in retaining the key employees will be analyzed. To get the answers of the research questions the phenomenology design will be followed and data will be collected through in depth interviews from banking industry. Finally the meaning is constructed with the help of the themes derive from the transcription of the interviews.

4.5 Sampling

Sampling is the process of using a small number of items or parts of a larger population to make conclusions about the whole population. There are several alternative ways of taking a sample. The major alternative sampling plans may be grouped into probability techniques and non probability techniques (Zikmund, 2002).

Banking industry is selected to conduct the research as a competition to retain the key employee is fierce there. Four banks are focused to collect the data where one subject from each bank is taken.

The purposive sampling technique is used as according to (Zikmund, 2002) purposive sampling is a non probability sampling in which techniques, in which an experienced individual selects the sample based upon some appropriate characteristics of the sample members.

4.6 Data Collection Technique

The data is collected through in depth interviews from a human resource manager at each bank. The in depth interviews is un structured in nature where the interviewer does not have the list of questions but have a clear understanding and ideas about the aspects which are to be explored.

4.7 Data Analysis

The data collected through interviews is transcribed with the help of field notes and audio recordings. The themes are derived from the transcription of data and finally the meaning is constructed.

4.8 Trustworthiness

Before finalizing the research draft was send to respondent in order to review whether their words are perceived as they wanted to be or not.

4.9 Ethical Consideration

The data is collected by the approval of the respondents and all the information of the respondents will be kept confidential.



Week # 1

17th January - 23rd January

Become acquainted with library

Search for dissertation topic

Choose a topic

Search for Literature

Week # 2

24thJanuary - 30thJanuary

Library work

Topic research

Designing of research questions/objectives

Writing Literature review

Week # 3

31stJanuary - 06thFebruary

Writing a industry background and finalizing its matter

Returned to Pakistan to attend the funeral of my grand father

Week # 4

7thFebruary - 13thFebruary

Contacted different banks for appointments.

Visited different Pakistani banks to collect information about the research

Summarized the collected information

Wrote Chapter # 1 Background after finalizing data

Week # 5

14thFebruary - 20thFebruary

Finalized Chapter #2 Industry Background &Chapter #3 to be included in the proposal.

Collected remaining information.

Finalized Chapter # 4 Research Methodology

Design Timescale, Resources, and References

Rearrange the proposal according to the required format

Organised &finalized for the submission



Research Journals.

Visit at different libraries.

Interviews conducted at different banks of Karachi.

Help from teachers.


Curtis, S., & Wright, D. (2001). Retaining Employees - The Fast Track to Commitment. Management Research News , 24, 60-64.

Guthrie, J. P. (2001). High-Involvement Work Practices, Turnover, and Productivity: Evidence from New Zealand. Academy of Management , 44, 180-190.

Mitchell, T. R., Holtom, B. C., Lee, T. W., & Graske, T. (2001). How to Keep Your Best Employees: Developing an Effective Retention Policy [and Executive Commentary]. Academy of Management , 15, 96-109.

Ramlall, S. (2004). A Review of Employee Motivation Theories and their Implications for Employee Retention within Organizations. Journal of american Academy of Business , 5, 52-63.

Ramlall, S. (2003). Managing Employee Retention as a Strategy for Increasing Organizational Competitiveness. Applied H.R.M. Research , 8, 63-72. ""&HYPERLINK ""m.htm