Romer: Vail Valley cost of living affects retention | VailDaily.com

Romer: Vail Valley cost of living affects retention

Retention of a positive and motivated employee is important for any organization’s success. High turnover increases the expenses and can have a negative impact on morale.

Roughly 42 million U.S. employees, or more than one in four workers, will leave their jobs this year to go work for another company, according to the recently released 2018 Retention Report: Truth and Trends in Turnover. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. “More than three in four employees (77%) who quit could have been retained by employers,” write the authors of the study, which was conducted by the Work Institute using data from more than 234,000 exit interviews.

Achieving success in retaining talent can be challenging for another reason: The current labor market, which by historic standards is in a very tight, low-unemployment phase. The U.S. Labor Department announced this summer that, for the first time on record, jobs outnumbered job seekers. 

Retention isn’t just a business problem; it’s a community problem. Employee retention strategies at a business level aim to keep employees motivated and focused so they elect to remain employed and fully productive for the benefit of the organization. This scales up to community level action to keep our citizens engaged, not only in their jobs but within the community at large.

The recently published Workforce Survey offers a few peeks into the minds of our business owners and operators in Eagle County and spotlights the challenges that exist in keeping and retaining our workforce.

Business owners and managers predict a small positive change in the economy in general for the upcoming year. This was also true for the vitality of one’s own business. This is good news. Over half of the businesses surveyed indicate that they expect to expand in the next three years. 

Nearly all of the businesses say there are barriers to growth in the county. These barriers create challenges for businesses to retain employees and for Eagle County to retain members of our workforce. In order for businesses to grow and expand in Eagle County — creating new jobs across industry sectors — we need to retain and grow our workforce.

Not surprisingly, frustration with housing continues to be a major issue, and negative opinions continue to run at an all-time high. Nearly three out of four businesses feel that the housing situation negatively impacts their ability to hire and retain employees, and this issue was mentioned frequently when asked about barriers to growing their business in the community.

Housing isn’t our only community challenge. Over half of the businesses feel that their employees have a negative opinion of the availability of affordable child care. Close to one out of three businesses feel that lack of child care negatively impacts their ability to hire and retain employees.

The third in the trifecta of cost of living barriers in Eagle County is healthcare costs. Two-thirds of the businesses feel that their employees have a negative opinion of the availability of affordable health care. Almost 40% of businesses feel that the lack of affordable health care negatively impacts their ability to hire and retain employees. 

Retention applies to communities as well as to organizations; the same principles apply, and communities must focus on retention to increase career opportunities and support business retention and growth. It is why Vail Valley Partnership is unwavering in our commitment to improving the health of the business community and the community as a whole, and we see that the two are inextricably connected.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at http://www.vailvalleypartnership.com.