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Daddy loves his work – or does he? How to encourage positivity and reduce staff turnover

Most of us are looking for new jobs, or are open to change, according to research by Launch Recruitment.

The survey of 4500 executives, hiring managers and employees found that 70 per cent of employees were either looking for a new job or were open to the possibility of change, with only 26 per cent not looking this year.

The results are not surprising. This year, a Gallup global survey found that only 18 per cent of all Australians said they loved their work.

Speaking in The Age's My Careers section, Launch's Rebecca Wallace observes that "people stay in their roles because of happiness at work, not because of money. Happiness is about the ability to learn and grow; people want to be contributing and learning and educating".

Wallace indicates that companies scoring high on employee engagement also scored strongest on increasing staff retention. Companies need a good HR Manager who understands strong retention planning, which could include incentives for employees, motivation, education and "making work a good place to be".

Andrew Warren-Nicholls from Epilogue Training Solutions says that a key to engagement and retention is trusting staff to take greater ownership of their work processes. Companies such as Google have high staff retention rates because people are allowed to be themselves and work the way they want.

Suzy Green from the Positivity Institute is at the Australian forefront of a global positive psychology movement that focuses on employee well-being and building an environment that is directed by employee goals and driven by a positive outlook.

Positive psychology research has found that when an employee is given more responsibility, their sense of purpose is lifted and workplace satisfaction improves.

International organisations such as Google, Ernst and Young and KPMG are in the midst of restructuring their recruiting practices and workplace philosophy to promote positivity and well-being.

For example, Ernst and Young have changed their whole recruitment process to focus on candidate strengths rather than weaknesses or gaps. Other organisations are holding weekly team excellence meetings where those present are only allowed to talk about things people are doing well, the purpose being to boost positive emotions, making people more proactive.

It might be time to take the temperature of your workplace. iHR offers employee surveys that cover the gamut in workplace satisfaction and engagement, including career development, communication of organisational goals and expectations and training and capability needs.

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