What are the things our organization should focus on to ensure we keep our employees for as long as possible?
Concentrate on the (big) goal. I’ve been playing on my soccer team for many years. I’m not paid and never will be. Despite that I want to work with a team who wants to one day win the premiership! I’m retained because of the premiership goal not the pay
Pay rises only successfully impact retention when the employee is genuinely being underpaid. It may be a short term band-aid to soothe ruffled feathers or retain someone who has handed in their notice, but usually their reasons for leaving are not related to their salary, and a pay rise will not address what the real issue is.
I believe most people will want to stay with employers who provide them the ability to learn and grow. Since traditional career ladders and staying at companies for 10+ years is becoming less common, people are looking to work for companies that will help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
Of course, keeping employees for as long as possible shouldn’t necessarily be the goal. There is a certain amount of turnover that is healthy both for the company and the employee to continue growing.
I agree with @stacey - some turnover is very healthy. New ideas and motivations come in, old grudges and viewpoints are pruned out; healthy turnover is important.
However, if there are certain staff members you wish to retain for as long as possible, ask them what motivates them to come to work - I think you will be pleasantly surprised that it is less about money and more about flexibility, opportunities for growth and a positive workplace culture.