Watch the stock market to determine your turnover

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Between 2010 and 2013, the number of staff members that left award-winning employer St Luke’s in Minnesota increased dramatically. That’s despite improvements in safety and numerous press articles on the employer’s success. But HR director Marla Halvorson didn’t let the numbers sway her – she pointed to the stock exchange for answers.

“In 2013 turnover was 12.2%,” says Marla Halvorson, HR director at St Luke’s hospital in Duluth. “We had a little bit of a jump in 2013. What really happened was (that) our retirees who were holding out for their 401ks to bounce back did see them bounce back. In 2010, turnover was 9%.”

That’s because in 2010, the economy was only just beginning to recover from the financial slump, and pre-retirees were still recouping any losses. But now that the market is performing well, it’s time to keep an eye on baby boomers who may be in a financial position to leave again.

“The financial crisis hit workers age 50 and above particularly hard, with the stock market fall creating a huge dent in their retirement savings and their confidence levels,” says Shane Bartling, senior consultant at Towers Watson. However, because not everybody has fully recovered, there is still time to work to retain workers and plan for succession, he says: “Employees might be on firmer financial footing now than they were five years ago, but many remain nervous about their finances and prospects for a secure retirement.”

A survey he conducted found that nearly double the proportions of full-time employees were satisfied with their current finances than in 2009.

It seems employers have responded to staff concerns about the market, with increasing numbers now offering financial advising services compared with previous years. Seven in 10 employers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch offer staff one-on-one access with a financial professional: a jump from 56% in 2012.

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