Employee Retention Factors on Career Sustainability in Travel and Tour Companies in Mombasa County, Kenya
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Career sustainability studies are gaining momentum especially on how employees can develop ways to achieve them. Employees in organizations that have mechanisms for employee retention can experience higher career sustainability. However, there is limited literature that can provide more understanding on the link between employee retention and career sustainability. The tourism organizations are also facing a challenge in holding their best employees in order to keep trend with the current competition. The specific objectives of this study were to establish the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on career sustainability, to assess the effect of employee retention strategies on career sustainability in the travel and tour companies, and to establish the moderating effect of employee engagement on the relationship between employee retention and career sustainability among employees in the travel and tour companies. This study was grounded on Super’s Self-Concept Theory, Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. The target population was comprised of 2,800 employees from 121 tour operator companies and 40 travel agent companies in the county. Using mixed research methods; stratified random sampling technique was used to select respondents to participate in the study. Interview schedules were conducted on 20 human resource managers and questionnaires administered to 350 tours and travel agency company employees. Four questionnaires were not filled fully, thus 346 fully filled questionnaires were used in the analysis. Descriptive statistics indicated that the male gender was highly represented at 62% than the females owing to the high number of tour guides who are predominantly male. The means from the analysis of career sustainability factors showed that employees have more desire to achieve success in their career [3.63], and improve their income [3.65]. Correlations of intrinsic factors and career sustainability indicated that employees with challenging job tasks [r = 0.572, n = 346, p<0.05] and freedom to make and implement own decisions [r = 0.641, n = 346, p<0.05] had a higher career sustainability. Content analysis showed that career sustainability would highly improve when employees are provided with commendations for completing tasks in time (5) and having good working relationships with their supervisors or co-workers (7). Multivariate regression was used to analyze the quantitative data and all the null hypotheses were rejected and the alternative hypotheses accepted. The study findings showed that intrinsic motivation factors [r = 0.651, n = 346, p = 0.000] and employee retention strategies [r = 0.788, n = 346, p = 0.000] have a stronger influence on career sustainability than extrinsic motivations [r = 0.615, n = 346, p = 0.000]. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that employee engagement has a moderator influence on the relationship between employee retention and career sustainability [r = 0.667, n = 346, p=0.000]. The study recommends that tour operator and travel agent company employees should be intrinsically motivated with challenging work that center on short-term wins, and be extrinsically motivated through forging effective interpersonal working relationships with their supervisors, peers and subordinates. This study provides a platform for policy makers to assess and compare levels of career sustainability among employees in the tours and travel sector with other sectors in the tourism industry in Kenya.