This study aims to explore what factors are critically associated with job retention in Engineering and Information Technology small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Korea, and how employers think about staff retention policy in relation to business growth. This contrasts with previous studies that mainly focus on employee motivation, job retention, and turnover. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted face-to-face with founder Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). The results suggest that an important factor influencing job retention policies of these SMEs was to motivate employees to make greater voluntary effort, including through developing a collaborative organizational culture, rather than solely offering them additional financial rewards or using other Human Resource Management (HRM) practices to improve individual performances. Interviewees believed that job retention and business growth were closely related, and they discussed various ways of eliciting emotional commitment from employees. Unlike research on larger firms, these suggestions did not involve immediate financial rewards. How employers thought that the roles played by employees strongly influenced their firm’s productivity and competitiveness. This study suggests SME employers adjust their retention policy specifically to improve their firm’s survival and long-term growth.
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