Workplace Networks Are More Important than Promotions to Engage and Retain Employees


Seramount data shows employees from historically marginalized groups and women are less likely to have strong networks and relationships at work

Las Vegas, NV, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Employee networks, sponsors, and strong managers are crucial components of successfully engaging and retaining employees, according to an analysis of 3,362 employee records, released today by workplace research leader Seramount, a part of EAB, at the annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM23. The data collected, using Seramount’s Employee Voice Session technology, shows that these relationships are even more closely connected to employee longevity than the promise of promotions. 

“Today’s employees are deeply disengaged from their work, resulting in trends such as quiet quitting and working your wage, and employers need to take action,” said Seramount Managing Director Dr. Laura Sherbin. “This research tells us that employee surveys have only scratched the surface of solving engagement problems for employers and the economy.”


Seramount’s data showed that employees who do not feel included are nearly twice as likely to report desiring to leave within the next three years (19 percent versus 36 percent). Similarly, when employees do not believe someone at their organization is working to expand their visibility or directly supporting their career advancement (i.e., functioning as their sponsor), they report desiring to leave at twice the rate (34 percent versus 17 percent).

When you cut the data by demographic groups, respondents from historically marginalized groups who want to advance to a more senior position were 10 percent less likely than White employees to have a sponsor. In addition, women who report wanting to advance to a more senior position were seven percentage points less likely to have a sponsor than men who want to advance. 

The demographic data also revealed that 43 percent of White employees who want to advance reported a strong network, compared to 24 percent of employees from historically marginalized groups. Forty-four percent of men who want to advance reported a strong network, compared to 24 percent of females.

On the other hand, the belief in advancement does not reduce flight risk. Among those who believe they will advance to a more senior role at their organization, 26 percent planned to stay three years or less. Similarly, 30 percent of those who did not believe they would advance planned to stay three years or less.

“There is a lot of emphasis on career pathing, and that is still very important,” Sherbin continued. “But companies also need to focus on facilitating strong peer-to-peer and peer-to-manager relationships, especially for underrepresented employees. The research is clear: interpersonal connections are key to retaining employees.”

To learn more about pathways for creating a more inclusive workforce, Seramount’s full report is available here.

About the Methodology
In March of 2023, Seramount conducted an analysis of 3,362 employee records that evaluated how employee networks, sponsors, and managers can affect a company’s efforts to engage and retain employees. Companies spanned technology, pharmaceutical, legal, and finance services industries. Data was collected using Seramount’s Employee Voice Session (EVS), a virtual online tool with which Seramount moderates and guides employees anonymously through a series of quantitative and qualitative questions. The live nature allows Seramount to dive deeply into responses and allows employees to share with one another openly.

About Seramount
Seramount, part of EAB, is a strategic professional services and research firm dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Over four decades, partnering with more than 450 of the most iconic companies in the world, we’ve built a deep, data-driven understanding of the employee experience, which lays the groundwork for everything we do. We meet each partner’s needs no matter where they are on their journey and guide them along an ever-changing talent landscape. Learn more at

CONTACT: Stefanie McNamara Seramount (202) 747-0549 [email protected] 

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