A couple of weeks ago, Phil Bounsall wrote a blog about how customers can sometimes believe the grass is greener with another vendor, and by reaching out to those customers to find out what is important, you can help prevent wandering eyes.
The same concept applies for employees as well. I am sure many leaders feel the employees are never happy despite giving them a good salary, interesting work, and other perks. Many employees feel they are being taken for granted and aren't truly cared about despite these perceived perks.
Just like on the customer side it is important to ask the employees what they are looking for in the workplace and how the company can improve. While you may not be able to fix everything, you will at least have some direction as to where to spend time and resources to ensure you are having the desired impact on employee loyalty. For example, I talk with many companies who are throwing a lot of time and money into improving communications. However, communication does not have a large impact on employee loyalty. Focusing on things like development, fairness, and recognition, will generally have a much larger impact on improvement employee loyalty.
I know many people I speak with now are saying unemployment is high so they don't need to worry about turnover. However, I have seen several studies which indicate anywhere from 20%-30% of employees plan to leave their job in the next year. Generally these are the most talented people, the ones you can least afford to lose.
Another big problem I have found with organizations is despite unemployment being high, they cannot find the talent necessary to fill the positions. So despite having a stack of resumes on their desk, they don't have people that are highly trained and highly skilled to fill these positions. So combine that with the turnover that will be happening in the next 12 months and companies could be in for a difficult road. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to be reaching out to the employees on a regular basis to asses their perceptions of the workplace and what they truly care about in their job.