Employee Tenure: Executive Interaction and Retention
The average tenure of an individual working in financial services is approximately five years. Community banks, especially in areas of rural northwest Ohio, face many challenges in hiring and retaining quality employees. The intent of this phenomenological study was to better understand the lived experience of community bankers who have been at their jobs longer than five years to determine what factors influenced them to stay. By interviewing 26 employees—including Chief Executive Officers—at five community banks in northwest Ohio, data were collected and analyzed to determine if CEO interactions and leadership style had any impact on employee loyalty. Findings suggested CEO interactions and leadership style were impactful, and employees described a variety of factors that contributed to their decisions to stay at their jobs. Data also revealed employees were overwhelmingly loyal to community banking because bank mission resonated with employee values. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced employee appreciation of bank leadership because their handling of the ongoing situation at work was employee-focused and consistent. Study findings will be leveraged to develop training and mentorship programs for community bankers. The training program will distill study results into actionable steps to enhance hiring and retention practices at community banks. The mentorship program will provide a way for community banks to offer professional development and support for both CEO level bankers and employees who might otherwise look elsewhere to advance their career. Keywords: community banking, CEO leadership style, CEO interactions, employee loyalty, mentorship
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