How Should We Deal With the Growing Employee Retention Problem?

Editor’s Note: Dr. John Sullivan has been a provocateur and strategist in the field of human resources and talent management for over 30 years. His specialty is HR strategy and designing world class HR systems and tools for Fortune 200 firms, and he’s never been shy about telling it like it is.

That’s why TLNT asked him to share his thinking in a video series titled “$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” Look for these videos twice a week here at TLNT.

Today’s topic: Retention after the recession

Dr. John Sullivan says he gets a lot of questions from business leaders and HR people about employee retention, and if organization’s will have a retention problem, once the recession is finally, completely over.

His answer: “Absolutely. If you look at the data, and there is plenty of research to show (this), if you ask people if they are going to be looking for a job when the job market opens up, literally 30 percent of them say, ‘yes.’ So we’re going to have to be concerned about that.”

One problem, he points out, is that during the recession a lot of retention people got laid off. In fact, many retention departments in companies no longer exist anymore.

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He also notes that long before people quit, they stop being as productive. This means that a big part of the challenge for organization’s is simply keeping workers productive and motivated, even if they do eventually decide to leave.

Dr. John feels that companies need to prioritize their needs and focus on retaining the very best employees by being proactive and finding out just what it is that needs to be done to keep them happy.

“The ultimate solution to retention,” he says, is doing something about all the bad managers out there — the real core issue in retention. “Until you do s, you are going to (continue) to have a huge retention problem.”

Did you miss the last segment of$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” on “Employee Engagement: Nice to Have, But Productivity Should be the Goal.” You can see it here.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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