Why HR Needs to Start Worrying About Retention Again

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Yes, 2014 will be the year retention returns to HR.

Retention almost died during the Great Recession. For almost 10 years, HR pros were able to roam the halls of their organization and almost never had to worry about the issue of retention.

There weren’t many jobs. Most people in times of hardship, hunker down and don’t move. It was like a perfect retention storm!

10 things to remember about retention

There are HR Pros who graduated out of HR programs and started their careers in the past five years that have never known a time when retaining your employees was the No. 1 priority!

That is about to change.

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This year, “Retention of Employees” will once again become a major issue that HR will be looked at to solve. Here are some important things to remember when you begin to look at ways to retain your employees:

  1. It’s really easy to do.” That is what your executives think, so you’re in trouble.
  2. You will get blamed for high turnover. Buy a helmet; life sucks that way.
  3. You will blame your crappy managers that you haven’t given any management training to in at least 5-7 years.
  4. You will tell at least half the people in your organization that, “We don’t have a retention problem, we have a compensation problem. You’ll be partially right, but won’t have the competitive data to back it up, so you’ll come across a a whiny victim.
  5. You’ll make at least one infographic trying to explain retention vs. turnover to your executives. It will fail.
  6. At least one executive will come up with the brilliant idea of “Retention Bonuses” and think $1,000 at the end of a year will stop people from wanting to leave your organization. Everyone who stays throughout the year will get a $1,000 bonus but won’t know why they got it.
  7. To combat your inability to retain employees, you’ll blame recruiting for not being able to find talent. This will work until your head of recruiting gets fired and the new head of recruiting comes in and says this one line – “The best recruit is the employee we don’t have to replace.” Again, retention will be on your desk.
  8. Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Instead of recruiting, you now pass off your problem to the training department. Managers will now be forced to go through soft skills leadership classes. You buy yourself six more months of retention not being your problem.
  9. You’ll buy a “new” assessment that claims to increase retention by picking the right people to begin with. You’ll never really find out if this worked or not, because you’ve been changing so many things that no one will really know. But the HR vendor will take credit and you’ll starn in their white paper and get asked to speak at their annual conference!
  10. Retention will still be an issue in 2015, but by then you’ll turn everything you’ve done, and your 7 percent increase in retention, into a new position with a new company in town who has a worst problem than your old company. See No. 1 for your plan with the new company.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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