Over the past decade, Europe has gone through a turbulent time, which has deflated employee optimism and cast a shadow over the continent. Yet as 2015 comes to a close, organisations are setting their sights on expansion and increased business success.

Here at ADP, we set out to explore how the increased stability is impacting employees’ perceptions about the working world. We found that an astonishing 77% of Europe’s workers now feel optimistic about the future of work. Whilst such optimism and confidence in the job market is great news for employee engagement and productivity, this could also result in employees broadening their career horizons.

In fact, a third (34%) of employees in Europe, and nearly a half (47%) in the UK say that they are planning to switch jobs within three years. As more and more workers intend to fly the nest, retaining talent could become a major business issue. Furthermore, those ex-employees who lack loyalty and enthusiasm for the organisation may spread negative comments that could cause severe reputational damage.

So, with your people as your greatest asset, what can you do to retain them?

Make a work-life balance a reality

Employees across Europe are striving to reverse the ‘always on’ working culture and attain some equilibrium in their lives, both in and outside of work. In fact, employees name a good work-life balance as the number one factor that motivates them.

Yet despite desires for a more balanced working life, 44% of workers say they often experience workplace stress. This is particularly concerning as high stress levels often affect job satisfaction and could cause an employee to leave their job. Organisations should be one step ahead and introduce strategies that alleviate work-related stress. Regular wellbeing check-ins with staff are important, as they enable management to see how employees are feeling and can help them mitigate stress at work.

Invest in your employees

Empowering employees and rewarding them for success is essential in creating an engaged workforce. Whilst financial rewards are of course an important mechanism to show employees that they are valued in the workplace, companies should also take time to review their wider benefits offerings and consider new ways to contribute to the overall wellbeing of their staff.

A quarter of workers (24%) say that receiving praise and recognition from management motivates them more than anything else and 15% of employees perceive benefits that look after their health and wellbeing as a top motivating factor. By offering options such as private healthcare and discounted gym memberships, or learning and development opportunities, companies can positively influence the comprehensive happiness, wellbeing and success of their employees.

Create a unanimous culture

A key part of forming a strong employer brand is building a culture that inspires employees and aligns with their values. Employees who can relate to the brand and the company’s mission and vision are more likely to find personal fulfilment at work. For example, incorporating social and CSR activities that align with the personal interests of employees can build a stronger sense of belonging.

Today’s world of work is being impacted by a great deal of change; however, it is encouraging that the workforce is feeling more positive than ever about their future career prospects. While this is good news for businesses, their leaders need to be aware of how this may cause competition for talent to increase at a faster pace. In order to retain top talent and ensure a positive reputation is maintained, organisations need to consider how they can meet employees’ demands and introduce new strategies to enhance employee loyalty.

It is also important to remember that loyalty goes beyond the experience your employees have whilst they are working for you. Current and past employees will spread the word via their connections, social media and online – for example on Glassdoor, making your employer brand and reputation more transparent than ever. A loyal employee may still leave your organisation, but if they had a good experience, they will still spread the word, as will an employee who had a poor experience. By nurturing you talent now, you can ensure that they become real brand ambassadors once they move on.

For more insights on the future of work, read our new white paper, The Workforce View in Europe 2015/16, available at http://bit.ly/1PkiXJ9.