A new study by TalentKeepers, a firm that researches andanalyzes employee engagement, yieldsboth encouraging and troubling trends about U.S. employers’attitudes towards worker engagement.

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The good news is that employers increasingly recognize that manyof their workers will not be happy or engaged in their currentposition unless they feel it offers them an opportunity to move upin the organization or within the industry.

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The perception that there are limited or no chances to move upthe career ladder is the best way to lose employees,particularly millennials, says TalentKeepers CEO ChristopherMulligan in an interview with BenefitsPro.

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“That has been the number one reason that employees have beenvoluntarily leaving for the past four years,” he said.

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Pre-recession, most workers leaving jobs cited issues withleaders, but in recent years, as more millennials have joined theworkforce, employees are more likely to be frustrated by feeling stuck in a job with noway to move up.

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Obviously, employers can only do so much to satisfy ambitiousemployees; a promotion every year is unrealistic, explainedMulligan. But employers can make workers feel better about theircareer prospects by offering them opportunities to learn new skillsand try out different roles within the organization.

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Of the 887 employers surveyed, 40 percent said that increasingcareer opportunities for employees is the strategy most likely todrive employee engagement. That’s a notable increase from lastyear, when 30 percent said the same the same thing.

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Roughly the same proportion of employers — 43 percent — say thatleadership strategies were the key to creating engaged employees.Another 10 percent say that organization strategies (down from 16percent last year) are the key driver, and 7 percent cite co-workerstrategies as the most important thing (down from 10 percent).

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The bad news, according to TalentKeepers, is that fewerorganizations are budgeting money for engagement strategies. Thepercentage of employers with a dedicated pool of money forengagement initiatives has declined from 71 percent in 2014 to 61percent this year.

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