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Promoting Employee Retention Essay

The success of

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a business depends greatly on employees. Whether in the production or service industry, employees are the very core of

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the business for they make prof

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it possible. Without them, business will be paralyzed, and capitalists will suffer a great loss. This makes it a common knowledge that for a business to succeed, employers should ensure satisfaction of

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their people. A number of

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factors should be considered to attain employee satisfaction and retention. Mainly, a good compensation helps to promote employee retention while monetary bonuses may make employees happy but both are not enough to assure satisfaction.

Medical insurance, retirement benefits, and other employee assistance programs (EAPs) that promote the total well-being of

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employees should be in place in order to attract and engage them to the goals of

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the company. This paper explores various EAPs that companies in the United States implement in order to promote retention and satisfaction of

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employees. It hopes to identify whether present EAPs meet the various needs of

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individuals or mainly respond to the basic necessities in life. In its search for companies employing various EAPs, the study hopes to prove that EAPs providing for various levels of

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needs help promote employee retention.

Background of

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the Study Globalization trends pose a big challenge to employers to improve or provide a variety of

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EAPs. Along with the trend to ensure consumer satisfaction are a wide range of

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EAPs designed to promote employee satisfaction and retention. While a good compensation, bonus packages and promotional schemes may heighten possibilities for retention, they can not guarantee loyalty among employees. In Nielsen (2010), CEOs confirm that cash incentives are not usually the key to employee retention. In this regard, it remains a big question for many employers which EAPs are appropriate and satisfying for their people.

The literature provides information on different forms of

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EAPs. Some are given prior to employment, others during employment, and still others upon retirement. In companies requiring training, one can expect assistance prior to employment. In this case, EAPS usually come in the form of

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allowances given to trainees during pre-employment training or service. While attending the training does not guarantee admission to the company, EAPs in the form of

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allowances help to compensate one’s efforts and needs for the said duration. Meanwhile, EAPs during employment usually include health or medical benefits.

According to Neurosurgical. com (n. d. ), employee medical benefits started in the mid 1940s due to employee unions’ demand. During those times, there were a limited number of

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companies that serve as partners to corporations in providing medical insurance, and the benefits were likewise limited. Today, a number of

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medical insurance providers have been put up and benefits vary in their coverage and cost. Health Management Organizations provide the most popular health care benefits based on the package that individual employees or company members choose.

Another form of

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EAP is the assistance given to employees after retirement. Employees who have retired may expect to receive a sum based on their length of

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service. Retirement benefits usually come as monthly pension to support the needs of

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the retiree. Other forms of

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EAPs include disability benefits, maternity/paternity benefits, and other means that involve direct issuance of

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money to employees. EAPs in monetary forms are helpful for they either assist employees during financial constraints or add up to the employees’ monthly income; however, they provide short-term benefits as money can be spent easily.

Therefore, this study seeks to explore EAPs that do not involve direct issuance of

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money. These EAPs provide a long-term effect in the form of

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trainings, counseling, livelihood education, and other services to help employees achieve a more fulfilling family or social life and career. Employers who strive to provide various EAPs reflect consideration of

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people’s needs as human beings. People’s needs vary; thus employers should learn to fulfill not just financial needs but those that promote the moral, social, cultural and emotional well-being of

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their people.

With EAPs that provide for needs other than financial ones, employers may expect a happy, satisfied and self-actualized pool of

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employees. As Abraham Maslow (1943) claims, people have different levels of

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needs, on top of

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which is self-actualization. Physiological needs compose the most basic, followed by emotional and social needs. Therefore, when aiming for fulfillment, employers should consider the said hierarchy, and respond to each need as may be possible. Following this view, this study seeks different forms of

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EAPs, and categorizes them according to the human needs they fulfill.

Importantly, it makes use of

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Maslow’s (ibid. ) Hierarchy of

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Needs as illustrated in Figure 1 in order to determine which aspect of

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the personality or need is being addressed with the implemented EAP. Figure 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of

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Needs As the figure shows, physiological and safety needs are the most basic needs that employers should provide for. These needs can be easily met with cash incentives and medical benefits. Physiological needs are those that allow employees to be healthy in order to perform well at work. They include the very basic—food, water, vitamins and nutrients.

Without these, people cannot function well. Certainly, physiological needs can be supported by giving employees a good compensation, but there is no guarantee that they will spend their salaries appropriately to provide adequately for their families’ physiological needs. In this regard, employers should provide EAPs to guide employees to spend their money wisely. Safety needs pertain to the physical safety needs of

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employees. Like physiological needs, safety needs have to be fulfilled to allow employees to work well.

These include the need for shelter, clothing, transportation, medicines, and other things that prevent employees from getting sick or harmed. Based on this, medical benefits or assistance, maternity benefits, transportation allowance, clothing allowance, and other forms of

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assistance related to health and safety are means to provide for safety needs. In addition, drug assistance or rehabilitation programs, counseling for alcoholics, and health-related trainings are EAPs that respond to the safety of

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employees. Next are belonging and esteem needs.

These needs similarly concern emotions. Human beings are emotional beings, and each needs to belong, be accepted, and be trusted. As individuals with emotions, employees have a need for family, friends, wife/husband, etc. but as employees, they need to feel they belong to a particular group that understands and sees them as special. This way, they would feel they belong, and easily cope with stress at work. EAPs that promote belongingness include team-building workshops, seminars on life stages, and company or family retreats.

Esteem needs pertain to the need to feel respected and trusted. The trust an employer gives is important for the other to have a high self-esteem. When there is a high sense of

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self-esteem, employers could e In our life, we exhibit these needs in our desires to marry, have a family, or be a part of

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a community, a church, a sports club, etc. It is also a part of

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what we look for in a career. If employees are well associated with colleagues, there will be more likelihood for them to stay in their current jobs. As such, EAPs should be provided to boost self-esteem and morale.

Finally, the highest needs every person has are self-actualization needs. Self-actualization is the completeness of

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the human being. To reach this aspect, according to Maslow (cited in Boeree, 2006), one has to fulfill the other needs. To illustrate, people cannot reach self-actualization if they are hungry; they cannot feel complete if they are sick or suffering from traumatic fears. Self-actualization is thus attained after all other lower level needs have been satisfied, and there is freedom and comfort both physically and emotionally.

In Alderfer (cited in Huitt, 2007), self-actualization for the introvert person is the development of

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competencies while for the extrovert, it is the ability to transcend or simply to assist other to attain development of

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their competencies. In the organizational context, many companies have devised EAPs for the achievement of

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self-actualization, but still many have not taken attempts to do so, leaving employees feeling stagnant and unhappy. Considering this, it is one of

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the aims of

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this study to find out whether companies have EAPs that strive for self-actualization of

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employees.

Securing employees’ needs is a way to promote retention and satisfaction. As outlined above, needs vary and are organized in a hierarchy, starting from physiological needs up to self-actualization needs. Following Maslow’s concept, we accept the view that one cannot fulfill higher level needs without securing lower level needs first. Based on this, it is one of

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the aims of

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this study to find out if organizations have various EAPs that provide for each level in the needs hierarchy. Moreover, it is concerned on whether various forms of

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EAPs are effective enough to promote employee retention.

Methodology The context of

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the study to be conducted requires quantitative data on EAPs currently employed by organizations in (place/city) to promote employee retention hence, the use of

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quantitative research is necessary. Quantitative research allows the researcher to identify the problem, and of

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fer possible solutions based on the findings. In particular, the study is based on grounded theory by Maslow, that human needs vary, thus EAPs should likewise do in order to satisfy employees.

In consideration of

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this theory, the study hopes to seek different forms of

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EAP that respond to different needs, and explore their potentials for employee retention. To achieve the goals of

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the study, first, there is a need to determine EAPs from different organizations. Data for this will be obtained through survey method. The survey focuses on determining EAPs organizations implement in order to promote retention. Findings will be based on turnover rates from the time identified EAPs were made effective, thus supporting documents should be available to the researcher. Sampling

Random sampling will be employed in the selection of

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organizations or companies to be surveyed. This means that the nature of

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organizations would vary; they can either be service-oriented or product-oriented organizations. Random sampling method is ideal in conducting this study to allow variability of

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information on present EAPs. Different companies can contribute to the growth of

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knowledge regarding EAPs and their potential in addressing various needs of

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employees. Besides this, random sampling projects Maslow’s theory that humans possess hierarchical needs, and fulfilling those needs would help them achieve satisfaction.

Nevertheless, the research does not neglect the fact that people vary in their priorities and options, thus would likewise gather evidences to prove whether EAPs responding to higher level needs are helpful in promoting employee retention. Literature Review Employee retention has been a common problem in organizations worldwide. Several factors cause employees to transfer from one organization to another, which result in great financial loss to the source company that consequently requires replacement.

Not only does turnover affect organizations financially, but likewise morally. Umiker (1994) believes that turnover lowers staff morale, productivity, cooperation, safety, and even customer service. In line with this, organizations have taken different actions to promote satisfaction and loyalty; some have improved management styles, while others have devised ways to enhance employee relations but most have provided limited EAPs due to their cost. This is due to the wrong notion that implementing EAPs is always associated with a high cost.

On the contrary, Levy Merrick, Volpe-Vartanian, Horgan, & McCann (2007) report that still many organizations view EAPs as useful measures to generate cost savings based on their outcomes and health care utilization. Common organizational knowledge views EAPs as benefits involving cash-out, thus many have opted to give direct monetary assistance to their employees. Others have provided insurance plans to assist employees in their financial needs during the most difficult times (i. e. , hospitalization, disability, etc. ).

Among the most common EAPs includes medical insurance, which does not only cover hospitalization benefits but likewise medicine, vitamins, and other health needs. In Watson Wyatt’s 2006 Strategic Rewards study (cited in Business and Legal Resources Web Site, 2006), 22% of

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top employee respondents identify medical benefits as a significant factor for employee retention. The participants confirmed that they will leave employers based on the medical benefits the latter provides. On a different note, there are more to EAPs than medical assistance as there are more to human needs aside from physiological and safety needs.

Several articles of

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fer information on different forms of

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EAPs yet literature exploring whether these are enough to promote employee retention is scant. Among EAPs that have attracted attention of

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several employers and managers is assistance provided to employees with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Quick (1989) and health experts from The George Washington Medical Center (n. d. ) posit that alcohol problems terribly affect American employers in terms of

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productivity. As such, they propose intervention in the form of

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counseling, screening, treatment through healthcare insurance, and employee support.

Notably, EAPs that involve counseling of

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drug and alcohol dependents are usually provided by health experts, thus inducing cost but they may likewise be provided by the HRD or relevant company personnel in order to reduce cost and improve interdepartmental cooperation. With their main concern on health and safety, such counseling procedures form part of

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EAPs addressing safety needs. Literature on EAPs addressing belongingness and esteem needs is scant but efforts to fulfill these needs are abundant. Interestingly, Petersen (2009) proposes an EAP that considers belonging and esteem needs of

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adopted employees.

In her article, the author suggests assisting adoptees in their efforts to reconnect with their biological parents in order to improve performance in the workplace. Once implemented, this idea may likewise promote retention among beneficiaries. EAPs that address self-actualization needs may come in the form of

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training and continuing education. Umiker (1994) reports that a company in Florida reduced its annual turnover rate by about 30 percent through training while another study concluded that a long-term educational program for personnel helped lower turnover rate and improved employee relations.

This demonstrates the direct link between training and employee retention, as Villegas (2006) claims. In his article, the author expresses that employees given opportunity for ongoing training feel that their employer is interested in them. As such, training basically addresses belonging needs and later self-actualization needs as the employee realizes and applies the goals of

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the training. However, Villegas notes that training is insufficient without coaching. Training should be coupled with coaching in order for it to be effective.

Therefore, EAPs related to training and education should cover after-training procedures to serve its purpose for attaining self-actualization. The American Institute of

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Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides a list of

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other forms of

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EAPs that provide for different levels of

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needs. These include assisting employees in their various needs such as banking (deposit/withdrawal) needs, laundry pickup, finding parking spots for expectant mothers, assistance/counseling regarding financial planning, shipping/mailing services, parenting/family counseling, etc.

Notably, these EAPs are cost-efficient, and they have long-term effect on the employees’ belonging and emotional commitment with the company. Considerations/Factors As mentioned above, the study considers the fact that several factors come into play as regards employee retention. There are people who are content with medical assistance, but there are those who seek more than that. In this regard, the study does not ignore EAPs designed to address lower-level needs, although attention is given on the possibility of

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EAPs for higher level needs to better promote retention.

Confidentiality is another factor for consideration. Organizations usually observe a level of

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confidentiality especially when it comes to HRD matters. In this view, a portion of

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the survey questionnaire should express respect for confidentiality to gain respondents’ participation. Likewise, it is the discretion of

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the organization to identify itself or not in answering the survey. Participants Survey participants would basically include HRD managers or representatives from organizations within (city/town).

Since EAPs are a concern of

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the HRD, the survey respondents will be limited to key personnel from the said department. For validity of

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findings, there should be at least twenty organizations to participate. These organizations vary in nature, size or number of

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employees, and length of

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existence. However, to ensure established turnover rates, participants should be at least 10 years in existence. In considering such, a good background of

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the organizations should be available to the researcher. Data Collection and Analysis

An invitation to participate in the form of

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a letter along with the survey questions will be sent to at least twenty HRD managers of

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chosen organizations. These will be delivered through a courier, and a backup copy will be sent to those with identified e-mail addresses. After gathering of

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survey responses, the researcher tabulates the identified EAPs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of

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needs. This will help determine which EAPs address higher level needs (e. g. , esteem, self-actualization needs) and which merely address lower-level needs (e. g. , physiological, safety needs).

Then, relying on turnover or retention figures from organizations, along with information from survey respondents, the researcher identifies whether EAPs catering to higher level needs have better potentials in promoting retention than EAPs addressing lower-level needs. Contribution to HRD Implementation of

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EAPs is a concern of

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the HRD. Therefore, knowledge on EAPs effective for promoting employee retention will help HRD personnel gain insights on programs for implementation in their own organizations. Importantly, taking into consideration Maslow’s Hierarchy of

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Needs is a unique step in assessing EAPs.

Several studies identify the significance of

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EAPs and the importance of

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EAP relevance to the needs of

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employees to promote retention but the literature does not provide consideration of

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Maslow’s hierarchy, which has been well-accepted in the fields of

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psychology and sociology. In this consideration, this study will provide a fresh look at the way HRD managers design and implement their EAPs. Conclusion, Implications, and Suggestions for Future Research EAPs providing for different levels of

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needs are an important aspect of

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employee retention. Human needs vary so should EAPs implemented in organizations worldwide.

While concern is usually given on the cost of

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programs for employee welfare, it should likewise be asserted that implementing EAPs could provide long-term benefits by increasing productivity, promoting satisfaction and retention, and improving employee relations. Moreover, not all EAPs require huge funding, especially for organizations with abundant HRD resources. These include human personnel and their wealthy collection of

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ideas, talents, experiences and skills. Certainly, HRD personnel can contribute a lot in promoting employee retention by designing programs that address not only biological but also higher level needs.

The purpose of

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the study makes it clear that aside from contributing to the body of

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literature on EAPs, the study also hopes to propose programs that are cost-efficient and more valuable than evolving EAPs. With this in view, HRD managers and employers will learn that EAPs do not need to be costly for them to promote retention. In the long run, the idea of

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opting for cost-efficient but valuable EAPs will replace medical insurances that continuously rise in cost and of

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fer limited concern on the health and safety of

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employees.

In addition, by conducting a survey on different forms of

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EAPs, the study hopes to find out novel EAPs such as those that consider the needs of

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the minority (i. e. , people with disabilities, those with different cultures, adoptees, etc. ). Again, this will give a new outlook on ways of

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promoting employee retention, as novel EAPs consider factors that are not usually expounded on. References AICPA. (n. d. ). Employee retention guide: how to keep your top talent on board. Retrieved August 22, 2010, from http://www. aicpa. org/Career/WomenintheProf

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ession/DownloadableDocuments/2945-378_EmployeeRetentionGuide.

pdf Boeree, G. (2006). Abraham Maslow. Retrieved August 18, 2010, from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/maslow. html Business and Legal Resources Web Site. (2010). Survey: Employers underestimate role of

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benefits in retention. Retrieved August 20, 2010, from http://hr. blr. com/HR-news/Benefits-Leave/Healthcare-Benefits/Survey-Employers-Underestimate-Role-of

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-Benefits-in/ Huitt, W. (2007). Maslow’s hierarchy of

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needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved August 18, 2010 from, http://www. edpsycinteractive.

org/topics/regsys/maslow. html Levy Merrick, E. , Volpe-Vartanian, J. , Horgan, C. & McCann, B. (2007). Alcohol and drug abuse: Revisiting employee assistance programs and substance use problems in the workplace: Key issues and a research agenda. American Psychiatric Association, 58:1262-1264. Maslow, A. (1943). A theory of

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human motivation. Psychological Review, (50), 370-396. Nielsen, R. (2010). Leadership, engagement and productivity. Retrieved August 22, 2010 from Ebn News http://ebn. benefitnews. com/news/leadership-engagement-and-productivity-2683004-1. html

Petersen, T. (2009). Helping adoptees reconnect with their birth parents. The Journal of

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Employee Assistance. Quick, R. (1989). Employee assistance programs: Beating alcoholism in the dish room and the board room. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly 29 (4): 62-69 The George Washington Medical Center. (n. d. ). Solving alcohol problems saves lives, reduces health care costs and improves productivity. Retrieved August 19, 2010 http://www. ensuringsolutions. org/ Umiker, W. (1994). Does training increase employee retention? Medical Laboratory Observer

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