Thanks for your thoughtful reflection, Brad. The variance between exempt and non-exempt is definitely complex for all of the reasons you noted. And people’s personal reasons for satisfaction are of course always going to vary. But I think the idea of a “culture of retention” is identifying what core values are important to you across the board, and letting staff personalize them as necessary. An example would be identifying “Ongoing Development” as a general retention priority for the organization, and then offering different strategies for different folks (e.g. financial support for education, career development plans, a peer mentor program, etc.). That way everyone would be engaging with the org in their development, but it would be personalized to their needs. Do you have any data that could help you identify common themes and/or values that you could hang a little structure around?

Clearly you’re doing a lot of things right if you’re staying 99% staffed, so I’d love to know what you’re hoping to add by putting the workforce data into practice. Do you want to know which retention strategies may be working? Do you want to know what groups of staff (by team, site, discipline, etc.) might benefit most from a larger-scale retention strategy? Do you want to capture feedback from happy individuals as part of your internal communications plan? There are lots of ideas for how to actually use some things, but they’ll all be tied to your goals.

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