skip to Main Content
Employee Retention May Not Be as Big a Deal As You Think

Here’s a question that every employee, whether they be a manager, mid-level worker, or administrative assistant, always have in the back of their mind:

How critical is my job in the grand scheme of things?

I know there are employees out there who don’t think about that, but if they don’t, they’re delusional and out of touch with reality. The fact is, just about every single person in the workforce is disposable, and employers aren’t shy about letting employees know it.

As HR blogger and thought leader Tim Sackett is fond of saying, your company will muddle on without you.

Even The New York Times pointed this out recently, noting that:

Most employees — no matter how many years they have been with a company or how much talent and hard work they bring to the table — feel disposable. And most employers do little to discourage that feeling.”

Is retention REALLY such a big deal?

But The Times goes on to add that, “As the economy rights itself, companies are becoming more concerned about retaining good workers for the long haul.”

Yes, retention is becoming a bigger deal (as Mr. Sackett got into today on TLNT), but I wonder: Is retention REALLY a concern for companies, or are they just talking about it because they feel they need to?

If you dig into The New York Times article, you get some insight from Josh Bersin about research from Deloitte of more than 3,000 business and HR leaders worldwide that found that “culture and engagement” — or keeping employees — was pegged as their most important challenge, edging out developing leadership.

As he tells The Times: “In my experience, doing this for 15 years, this is the first time it has scored this high.”

I don’t doubt for a minute what Josh is saying, and really, there are few others who have the insight and perspective on these kind of things that he does.

Still, I think back to the last time in my lifetime that I saw employers really, truly worried about retention — the dotcom boom of 1998-2001 — and it’s clear to me that the concern employers have today about keeping employees on board pales in comparison to that.

This was REALLY when retention was a worry

Back then, I was recruited by a very famous dotcom of that era — — and I worked for most of its existence as Vice President for Editorial and Publisher of, The Magazine. Although I have lots of great stories about, including how it wasn’t nearly the business disaster that The Wall Street Journal loves to say it was, those are stories for another day.

What I clearly remember most about that period was this: The unrelenting struggle we faced to retain and hold on to employees.

Back then, the economy (especially technology) was booming, and a great many companies were growing and looking for talent. Finding people, as I was constantly doing at a technology start-up, was a struggle, and holding on to them was even more challenging because everyone was trying to recruit them away from you.

I personally got at least one phone call with a job offer every single week I was at Hiring and retention were an ongoing struggle that everyone in company management thought about ALL the time. And, I heard the same thing from friends and peers in all sorts of industries all over the country, because they were constantly under siege and getting raided by everybody else who was trying to grow and needed employees.

And, that’s what it’s like when companies are really worried about retention.

You can’t take monthly employment numbers very seriously

It’s also why I don’t take the government’s monthly numbers on unemployment very seriously.

President Obama may tout a 5 percent unemployment rate, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics is woefully behind on revising how it measures unemployment. Until the BLS can truly capture all the people who have stopped looking for work, or are under-employed, or are independent contractors, or working in any number of situations that DON’T equal a full-time job, the monthly Labor Department numbers are little more than government propaganda.

Don’t agree? Well, ask yourself this: If retention is such a big employer concern, why are workers still only getting measly 3 percent annual wage increases?

If retention was a REAL concern, workers would be seeing their pay jump a lot more to help keep them on board, rather than having it stuck in neutral as it has been since the start of the Great Recession.

I won’t take all this retention talk very seriously until I see some real employer action — like paying employees more to keep them from leaving. Then, and only then, will we be able to finally say that retention is truly a big employer concern.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Stories

After a year of growth, Maine’s legal cannabis industry faces new challenges

The state’s adult-use cannabis industry brought in nearly $60 million in its first year, but some fear market saturation and mega-competitors from out of state. One year after Maine launched its legal adult-use cannabis market, industry members say they’re encouraged by the market’s rapid growth, but they also shared worries about the possibility of market…

Cannabis Legalization and its Impact on the Transportation Industry

Trends in Cannabis Legalization While employers in the transportation industry are acutely aware of the effects COVID-19 has imposed over the last 18 months, another phenomenon has been making itself known: the ever-increasing tally of states and localities across the country legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes. A majority of states now have enacted…

German Police’s Move To Stop Adult-Use Cannabis Legalisation A Throwback To Dark Days Of Prohibition

CALLS by the leaders of two German police unions for politicians to U-Turn on the their progressive march towards cannabis legalisation have been roundly condemned. This comes as political talks continue towards the the formation of a cannabis-friendly ‘Traffic-Light Coalition’. It appears that it is just these talks – and the potential for adult-use legalisation…

N.J. announces 14 new medical marijuana licenses, expanding market after long delay

New Jersey has licensed 14 new marijuana businesses, bringing a long-awaited expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program that exceeds original plans. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission on Friday announced the winners of a competitive and burdensome licensing process that began two years ago. Nearly 200 entrepreneurs applied for licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana,…

More Categories

Back To Top
×Close search