New Survey of Boston Area Professionals on Workplace Retention: Company Values and Work-Life Balance Trump Increased Pay


Boston area professionals are more likely to seek new employment if their company doesn’t stand by its values or if their work-life balance worsens than they are if they do not receive a raise they feel they deserve, according to the latest poll conducted by Seven Letter, a bipartisan, full-service strategic communications firm, in partnership with the Boston Business Journal. The survey of nearly 200 Boston area professionals is the fifth in a series of polls examining views on issues including workplace benefits, COVID-19 policies and Boston area transportation.

In the latest poll, which focused on issues related to employee retention, 81% of management level employees said they would seek employment elsewhere if their company didn’t stand by its values (65% of non-management employees said the same). 77% of non-management employees said they would seek employment elsewhere if their work-life balance worsened (66% of management employees said the same). Comparatively, slightly more than half of respondents said they would seek employment elsewhere if they didn’t receive a raise they felt they deserved (54% management; 57% non-management).

“The results from this poll illustrate that Boston area employers must think beyond compensation when considering employee retention practices,” said Seven Letter Partner and Head of Research Matt George. “Employees are loyal to their employers, but we can see that an inability to deliver on the promise of company values or shifts in work-life balance can change that calculus.”

81% of management level respondents consider themselves very loyal to their current employer, with another 15% saying they are somewhat loyal to them. In contrast, slightly more than half (51%) of non-management employees consider themselves very loyal to their current employer, with another 27% saying they are somewhat loyal. 

“Boston area-employers should be encouraged to see the loyalty their employees feel, but this poll is an important reminder that loyalty can shift, depending on choices made by management related to company values and work-life balance,” said Doug Banks, Executive Editor of the Boston Business Journal. “Employee retention cannot be solely based on compensation, however competitive it may be.”Seven Letter is a full-service strategic communications firm with specialties in crisis communications, corporate communications, creative content development, brand and reputation management, public affairs, digital strategy and grasstops/grassroots mobilization. In 2019, Seven Letter launched Seven Letter Labs, expanding and enhancing its digital strategy services. The firm’s 2020 merger with the communications practice of Boston-based O’Neill and Associates expanded the firm’s geographic footprint, its team and reach. In 2020, Seven Letter launched Seven Letter Insight, an opinion and messaging research offering. Seven Letter was named 2021 Best Place to Work by PR Week, was listed in the 2020 PR News Agency Elite Top 100, and is a multi-year “PR News Top Places to Work” award winner. Senior leaders of the firm have also received awards for industry excellence from PR Week, PR News and other outlets.