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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Employee Retention in a Bad Economy

Times are uncertain right now. Businesses are closing. Jobs are not safe. We all know people who have lost employment and it can make our people edgy. Employees are asking, "What's going to happen with my job?" People are looking for reassurance and some level of comfort.

Do we need to worry about employee retention at a time like this? Since there aren't many jobs, is it OK to feel that our people should just watch their butts because there's no place else to go? We're all being asked to do more with less and on top of that we have to get all "touchy-feely" with our employees because they're feeling insecure?

Employee retention is an important issue at ALL times, good economy or bad. Let's face it:

1. There are a lot of average workers in the world. That's why they're called average. If you've got a superstar or even an above-average employee, chances are that potential employers could feel the same way you do.
2. There are jobs out there. Not as many jobs are available as used to be, but jobs are there. If you have talented professionals working for you and their working conditions (security, pay, duties, leadership, etc.) are less than they think is optimal, they can patiently look for something that will be better. Then, they can surprise you one day with a "Sayonara, here's my notice".
3. I guess since other talented people are out of work, it's no big deal to replace a solid, trained performer in these economic times, right? WRONG. Many HR people will tell you that it can cost 30% of a worker's salary to find a suitable replacement. 30%! How many companies have the money to be doing that very often (more than they already are)?
4. Plus, you know all the hassle that goes along with hiring new folks...or combining jobs when your boss tells you that even though your "jumper" left a funded position, you're not going to be allowed to refill the position...things are bad, remember?
5. Don't forget employee morale for those who don't want a potential stampede of workers out your doors. What about the whole "team" thing? It just keeps adding up.

Talent retention is a key role of every boss regardless of the economy...bottom line.

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