Finding a new job may be at the top of your employees’ New Years’ Resolutions list.

A recent Right Management Survey highlights that most employees want to leave their current position. Even more alarming: the percentage was just as high last year.

Here’s the key question from the study:

That people are dissatisfied at their jobs isn’t surprising given the general distrust workers have of employers after record layoffs during the recession. What IS surprising is the length of time workers have been dissatisfied. Why haven’t they left yet? Probably because they can’t find another comparable job right now. But that will change…it’s just a matter of when.

The message for employers? It’s entirely possible you’ve had someone taking up a valuable seat in your office that is spending more time job-hunting than working. It’s also likely that some employees you would rather not lose are committing to moving on.

With the cost of turnover estimated at up to 1.5 times an employee’s annual salary, you can’t afford to lose your rock stars – or even your budding rock stars - because they think the grass is greener somewhere else.

What’s a manager to do? Here are five ways to safeguard your firm against involuntary turnover:

1. Talk to your employees. Ask how things are going, and really listen to what they tell you. Then thank them for candid feedback and take action on it.

2. Stop taking it all so seriously. If you never smile, neither will they.

3. Motivate people to want to work. Frequent contests make work fun and do wonders for increasing engagement. Give away an iPad to an employee that increases productivity. Incent your AP clerk to make payroll on time three straight weeks in a row with a half-day off. Put someone’s name in lights for coming up with an idea to save the company money.

4. Show ‘em the money. Increase commission and bonuses for meeting budget. If you asked everyone to take a pay cut during the recession, this is long overdue.

5. Help them improve their skills. Employees want to feel invested in. It’s hard to leave a company that’s helping you grow your skills, develop your talents, and increase your successes. If you slashed training from the budget during the recession and haven’t reinvested in it yet, now is the time.

Tags: Advice, Employee Retention, Job Hunting, Turnover