Dear Sir

My name is Deepti Sharma. I am working in Multinational Telecom Industry. I have read your article on Employee Retention. As per your article we have many motivational programs in our company and not very high but a good compensation package too. But still we face the attrition on a daily basis.

I have conducted the Employee feedback survey through which we came to know that the reasons of attrition is less appreciation by the seniors and a proper training.

Though we have started to work on Training part but regarding lack of appreciation, we discussed with the Head's of the Department and found that they have taken that into implementation but when we speak to the employees they says that this they do only infront of you.

Now I have decided to work on Retention Policy for which I am seeking the help from my seniors. I would be obliged if you can help me in this and tell me how can I start on this and things should I add in the Policy.

Waiting for the response.

Thanks & Rgds.

Deepti
5th March 2007 From India, New Delhi
Hi Deepti,

Am extremly sorry for delayed response.. :D

May we suggest that you re-work on the exit interview process to assess whether you are getting the genuine feedback and many times would be ex-employees give general answers..

Less appreciation by seniors :

It is very subjective and grey area to work on..if it were so then HR doesn;t need the feedback from employees..it should be visible ! :D

I think you(HR) should be able to judge it from the day to day workplace observations..

This reminds of the article i just read today on " Are HR Professionals in the people Business any longer ? " Really hillarious one but a true picture of the state of HR processes in today's world which appeared in the Hindu paper which says..

"As a human resource consultant, I have had the unenviable task (on more than one occasion) of introducing my clients' HR manager to their own employees! If you find this hard to believe try this test - ask a random sample of employees in any large organisation to list the names of their HR team members. If they do pass this test, ask them if they have seen them at least once, face-to-face. If they pass this test too, they are blessed."

Rest is reproduced at the end of this posting..

Here what we would suggest is that you have to focus on the culture on Manager catching the employees doing the RIGHT things!..which requires the MINDSET change on the part of the supervisors

Therefore incorporate the following :-

1. Employee of the month scheme.

2. Make sure that your frontline & second tier of employees who are important drivers of the business get the opportunity to meet the HODs or the CEO on a one to one basis say for lunch atleast once a month.

3. If there is less appreciation by the supervisors - then may be you need to analyse the same as they charity begins at the top( or home). Discuss the same with the Top Management highlighting this factor as how they impact the attrition rate and the company's bottomline!.

4. HR to be actively alert to the latent & pressing needs of the organizations.

Hope these provide some pointers..

Regards,

Rajat Joshi

Are HR professionals in the people business any longer?

Ganesh Chella

A sound grounding in the science of human behaviour will help today's HR professionals diagnose people issues better and strike a better balance between business demands and people's needs.

As a human resource consultant, I have had the unenviable task (on more than one occasion) of introducing my clients' HR manager to their own employees! If you find this hard to believe try this test - ask a random sample of employees in any large organisation to list the names of their HR team members. If they do pass this test, ask them if they have seen them at least once, face-to-face. If they pass this test too, they are blessed. The rest may read on ...

The reason for the `invisibility' that I have implied in the example is the fundamental shift in the way today's HR professionals are seeing their roles. They seem to be taking a "hard" and "business like" view of their roles to the exclusion of the "softer" championship, advocacy and connect dimensions. As a result, many of today's HR professionals are not dealing with "people" as "people" and that is worrying.

While the transformation of HR as a serious partner in today's business environment is welcome, leaving behind the "humanness" is not. While HR professionals are busy designing and implementing programmes that are intended to benefit people, their current mode of relating with people seems to be what psychologists would call "agentic" ¡ª a cold approach, caring less about their feelings but more about what one wants from them.

This is what has prompted me to ask if HR professionals are in the people business any longer?

The five drivers

I see five factors driving this new "HR attitude towards people".

The preoccupation with becoming a strategic partner

It looks like some HR folks read only parts of Dave Ulrich's landmark book. While he spoke with as much gusto about the employee champion role as he did about the strategic partner role, most seem to consider the latter more attractive. In fact, the preoccupation is so severe that "being in touch with employees" is seen as totally non-strategic.

In my opinion, being champions and advocates is indeed strategic. It is for this reason that HR professionals were traditionally groomed in the "employee relations" role before being moved into "corporate" roles.

The frustration with the lack of reciprocity

In the past, the people-friendly attitude and actions of the HR professional met with a fair amount of reciprocity from the employees. Using the depth of this relationship, HR leaders were able to solve sticky people problems, negotiate with unions and hire and retain employees. In the emerging employment arrangements that we are witnessing, the relationship and persuasive powers of the HR Manager is unable to match the harsh forces of the labour market.

This is obviously leading to a certain level of frustration and anger among the HR folks with employees and their attitudes. The empathy and Theory Y assumptions needed among HR professionals to deal with the situation are not evident. Nor is there reflection about how they seem to have contributed to these changing (read bad) employee attitudes!

Disconnected by design

As organisations scale like never before, HR professionals have to spread themselves thinner than ever before. Spread thin beyond a point, HR presence becomes meaningless and leads to complete disconnect. The need for focus and specialisation is also driving the HR functions into silos. Like the super-specialist medical professional, each vertical within the HR looks only at one aspect of the employee - talent acquisition, talent engagement, talent development and so on. No one seems to be seeing the whole human being!

Feverish HR outsourcing, recourse to self-help technologies, emphasis on managerial responsibility for people and other such actions are also making HR more and more disconnected from people.

The modern HR manager has fewer and fewer touch points with his or her employees and this does not seem to cause any worry. Right from selection interviews to exit interviews, external service providers are taking over.

Mistaking a `Talent mind-set' for a `people mind-set'

HR is now called talent management and HR professionals prefix or suffix these words to their titles. Many believe that this gives the function and the professional a greater sense of purpose.

The only problem is that "Human" is now missing not only in spirit but also in "letter"!

The way the term talent is used also gives me the sense that HR is in the business of materials management and not in the business of people!

While the urgency to compete and establish supremacy in the labour market is high, the orientation seems more mechanistic and less humanistic.

Less science more techniques

Many of today's HR professionals lack knowledge about the basic science of human behaviour which forms the edifice for understanding people and their motives.

On the other hand they are overwhelmed with what today's HR consulting firms dish out - talent assessments methodologies, engagement models, criteria for becoming the "best in the list" and so on.

A sound grounding in the science of human behaviour would have helped today's HR professionals diagnose people issues better and strike a better balance between business demands and people's needs. Without this understanding of people, the empathy and concern are hard to come by.

The HR profession is undoubtedly under a lot of pressure given that most of today's business problems revolve around people. Merely being the warm and fuzzy guy around will not do. Giving up the people agenda altogether will not do either!

So... .

Let's get in touch with our own humanness

Let's understand the people behind the talent

Let's reconnect with these people as people

(The author is the founder and CEO of totus consulting, a strategic HR consulting firm that designs and implements systems and processes for organisations across diverse industries. He can be reached at )
14th March 2007 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
This article has really helped me out in enhancing my final year project on recruitment and selection. Can you suggest some relative points on recruitment and selection of an IT industry.
Thanks & Regards,
Radhika
14th March 2007 From India, Hyderabad
Hi Rajat,

Since this subject is close to your heart..thought i share this news/trend on the same.

Regards,

Bhawana

HR Must Think Beyond Boundaries

Attrition is a reality and HR now has to shift focus from battling attrition to retention of key talent. With a shortfall of 15-20 pct expected in mid-level managers, HR should seriously consider effective retention methods and let go of the bottom 5-10 pct that are leaving the company, said Mr Ahmed Ali, Managing Director, Cornucopia, a Bangalore-based HR consultancy firm.

He was speaking at a seminar on `Retention — Biggest Business Challenge', organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Bangalore. Mr Rajeeva Kumar, Director, Omam Consultants, who presented survey data on a compensation study, said that variable pay is increasingly becoming a bigger component of the salary of Indian executives. "Senior and top management receive the highest percentage of variable pay (17-30 pct). Variable pay has increased across sectors this year: in banking from 13 to 24 pct, in IT from 13 to 18 pct, manufacturing from 10 to 16 pct, FMCG from 14 to 18 pct."

Source: 03-03-07 The Hindu Business Line New Delhi Edition
15th March 2007 From India, Mumbai
Hi Rajat,
Thanks for such a useful article. I am new to the this site and really happy and surprised to see the co-operation of members towards each other.
I was searching for a website specifically for HR professionals for a long time. And finally I got this one.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks & Regards,
Priyanka.
3rd June 2007 From India, Delhi
Dear Mr. Joshi,
Greetings of the day..
Please help me with this issue;when i ask my line staff/managers to recognize or thank their people.
Managers say, “Why should I recognize or thank him? He’s just doing his job.” And, life at work is busy, busy, busy....et all
Yes, we gave Employee Recognition Systems & policies in place..
Regards,
Bhawana
11th July 2007 From India, Mumbai
Hello Rajat:
Greetings of the day and hope thatyou are feeling better :)
Please help me with this issue;when i ask my line staff/managers to recognize or thank their people.
Managers say, “Why should I recognize or thank him? He’s just doing his job.” And, life at work is busy, busy, busy....et all
Yes, we have Employee Recognition Systems & policies in place..
Regards,
Bhawana
14th September 2007 From India, Mumbai
Hi Bhawana,

My ideas have helped you and please share the results with us.

Regards,

Rajat

Dear all,

The prophetic words of Winston Churchill when Britain agreed to give freedom to India sometimes ring true :D ..especially when you find Govt interfering in the operations of the private sector especially when they can't put their own house in order and issues like Ram sethu seems a priority..read on

Don't demean BPO staff, leave personal lives untouched: Nasscom

Software industry body Nasscom on Friday reacted sharply to the reported statement of Health Minister A Ramadoss on the habits and health hazards of employees in the BPO sector, saying the government should not interfere in personal lives of the people.

"Nasscom is deeply distressed by the comments, as reported in the media made by the Minister of Health. This is a generalised slur on half a million youngsters working in this industry," the association said in a statement.

It said that allegations of bad diet, excessive smoking and drinking were "exaggerations that demean BPO employees". Personal lifestyle of adults is for them to choose as long as it is within the law, Nasscom said.

"We no not think it is for companies or the government to interfere in the personal life of adult Indians," it said.

ITeS-BPO exports rose 33.5 per cent at USD 8.4 billion in 2006-07 and expected to rise to 10.5-11 billion dollar this fiscal, according to Nasscom projections.

The IT-ITeS industry is the largest and fastest-growing employer in the organised sector. It directly employs more than 1.6 million and has indirectly created job opportunities for an additional 6 million people in related industries.

Ramadoss is reported to have expressed shock at the young BPO workers facing health hazards at the workplace and lifestyle leading to heart attacks and other major ailments.

"We are, therefore, finalising a blueprint of India's first dedicated health policy for the BPO sector," he was quoted as saying in a newspaper report.
29th September 2007 From India, Pune
Dear Mr Joshi,
Trust this post finds you in the best of spirits. :D
Please advise me as i have recieved an offer from a reputed manufacturing firm and the key assignment is to work on retention strategies and implementation. They are facing 35 % attrition rate.
Please advice whether my limited experience in BPO industry would be relevant and help me to take on this assignment.
Thanks,
Bhawana
21st December 2007 From India, Mumbai
Hi Bhawana,

Am traveling at the moment and I would not be able to respond to your question in detail and be elaborate.

I refer to your query whether your experience on Retention Strategy in BPO Industry would be helpful in the new assignment viz Manufacturing sector.

Well, it¡¯s difficult this question right away as it depends on two factors :

1.Your experience and expertise on Retention Strategies gained in BPO Sector

2. Your would be company¡¯s work culture and the support you get from the Top Management ¨C here I would lay emphasis on the dyadic relationships.

Retention strategies is no rocket sciences and the cornerstone of retaining staff is based on 3 R¡¯s viz Respect, Recognition and Rewards. These should be aimed to make the organization ¨C a great place to work!

One needs to be in sync with the organization¡¯s dynamics as one cannot write the strategies in Ivory Tower! Also one needs to develop the good working relationship with the Top Management to convince of the same and very well understand the nuances of the organizational dynamics.

Let me share an example, if you come across the profile of the employee in the job portal, first thing you should do is to have a discussion with his/her supervisor about his performance and possible reasons for a change. Assess the same first in detail and then have an interview with the aforesaid employee with a plan in mind as what should the company do to make their stay at the company worthwhile with a win-win situation. Please remember compensation is not always the topmost reason !.

Best wishes in your new assignment!.

Regards,

Rajat Joshi
22nd December 2007 From India, Pune
Hi Bhavana,

Coming to your query regarding your new assignment as well as your job profile...

As presently you are working with a BPO.. in current scenario the attrition rate of BPO Industry is very high, and handling HR department is a real challenge.. because in BPO, the work group comprises of mostly 12th pass students or college going students and they are unmatured, who doesn't know where to move.. whats good for them..

So retaining such an employee is in real a great task for HR..

If you have handled the things well at your end and played a good part in increasing the retention in BPO.. then its a good platform to move on.. you can do a wonder there..

To help further, Here are some interesting Retention Tools which I came across-

1. Offer fair and competitive salaries. Fair compensation alone does not guarantee employee loyalty, but offering below-market wages makes it much more likely that employees will look for work elsewhere. In fact, research shows that if incomes lag behind comparable jobs at a company across town by more than 10 percent, workers are likely to bolt. To retain workers, conduct regular reviews of the salaries you offer for all job titles — entry-level, experienced staff and supervisory-level. Compare your department's salaries with statistically reliable averages. If there are significant discrepancies, you probably should consider making adjustments to ensure that you are in line with the marketplace.

2. Remember that benefits are important too. Although benefits are not a key reason why employees stick with a company, the benefits you offer can't be markedly worse than those offered by your competitors

3. Train your front-line supervisors, managers and administrators. It can't be said often enough: People stay or leave because of their bosses, not their companies. A good employee/manager relationship is critical to employee satisfaction and retention. Make sure your managers aren't driving technologists away. Give them the training they need to develop good supervisory and people-management skills.

4. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Develop a formal job description for each title or position in your department. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them every day, what types of decisions they are allowed to make on their own, and to whom they are supposed to report.

5. Provide adequate advancement opportunities. To foster employee loyalty, implement a career ladder and make sure employees know what they must do to earn a promotion. Conduct regular performance reviews to identify employees' strengths and weaknesses, and help them improve in areas that will lead to job advancement. A clear professional development plan gives employees an incentive to stick around.

6. Offer retention bonuses instead of sign-on bonuses. Worker longevity typically is rewarded with an annual raise and additional vacation time after three, five or 10 years. But why not offer other seniority-based rewards such as a paid membership in the employee's professional association after one year, a paid membership to a local gym after two years, and full reimbursement for the cost of the employee's uniforms after three years? Retention packages also could be designed to raise the salaries of technologists who become credentialed in additional specialty areas, obtain additional education or take on more responsibility. Sign-on bonuses encourage technologists to skip from job to job, while retention packages offer incentives for staying.

7. Make someone accountable for retention. Measure your turnover rate and hold someone (maybe you!) responsible for reducing it. In too many workplaces, no one is held accountable when employees leave, so nothing is done to encourage retention.

8. Conduct employee satisfaction surveys. You won't know what's wrong ... or what's right … unless you ask. To check the pulse of your workplace, conduct anonymous employee satisfaction surveys on a regular basis. One idea: Ask employees what they want more of and what they want less of.

9. Foster an environment of teamwork. It takes effort to build an effective team, but the result is greater productivity, better use of resources, improved customer service and increased morale. Here are a few ideas to foster a team environment in your department:

• Make sure everyone understands the department's purpose, mission or goal.

• Encourage discussion, participation and the sharing of ideas.

• Rotate leadership responsibilities depending on your employees' abilities and the needs of the team.

• Involve employees in decisions; ask them to help make decisions through consensus and collaboration.

• Encourage team members to show appreciation to their colleagues for superior performance or achievement.

10. Reduce the paperwork burden. If your technologists spend nearly as much time filling out paperwork, it's time for a change. Paperwork pressures can add to the stress and burnout that employees feel. Eliminate unnecessary paperwork; convert more paperwork to an electronic format; and hire non-tech administrative staff to take over as much of the paperwork burden as is allowed under legal or regulatory restrictions.

11. Make room for fun. Celebrate successes and recognize when milestones are reached. Potluck lunches, birthday parties, employee picnics and creative contests will help remind people why your company is a great place to work.

12. Write a mission statement for your department. Everyone wants to feel that they are working toward a meaningful, worthwhile goal. Work with your staff to develop a departmental mission statement, and then publicly post it for everyone to see. Make sure employees understand how their contribution is important.

13. Provide a variety of assignments. Identify your employees' talents and then encourage them to stretch their abilities into new areas. Do you have a great "teacher" on staff? Encourage him/ her to lead an in-service or present a poster session on an interesting case. Have someone who likes planning and coordinating events? Ask him to organize a departmental open house. Know a good critical-thinker? Ask him/ her to work with a vendor to customize applications training on a new piece of equipment. A variety of challenging assignments helps keep the workplace stimulating.

14. Communicate openly. Employees are more loyal to a company when they believe managers keep them informed about key issues. Is a corporate merger in the works? Is a major expansion on the horizon? Your employees would rather hear it from you than from the evening newscast. It is nearly impossible for a manager to "over-communicate."

15. Encourage learning. Create opportunities for your technologists to grow and learn. Reimburse them for CE courses, seminars and professional meetings; discuss recent journal articles with them; ask them to research a new scheduling method for the department. Encourage every employee to learn at least one new thing every week, and you'll create a work force that is excited, motivated and committed.

16. Be flexible. Today's employees have many commitments outside their job, often including responsibility for children, aging parents, chronic health conditions and other issues. They will be loyal to workplaces that make their lives more convenient by offering on-site childcare centers, on-site hair styling and dry cleaning, flexible work hours, part-time positions, job-sharing or similar practices. For example, employees of school-age children might appreciate the option to work nine months a year and have the summers off to be with their children.

17. Develop an effective orientation program. Implement a formal orientation program that's at least three weeks long and includes a thorough overview of every area of your department and an introduction to other departments. Assign a senior staff member to act as a mentor to the new employee throughout the orientation period. Develop a checklist of topics that need to be covered and check in with the new employee at the end of the orientation period to ensure that all topics were adequately addressed.

18. Give people the best equipment and supplies possible. No one wants to work with equipment that's old or constantly breaking down. Ensure that your equipment is properly maintained, and regularly upgrade machinery, computers and software. In addition, provide employees with the highest quality supplies you can afford. Cheap, leaky pens may seem like a small thing, but they can add to employees' overall stress level.

19. Show your employees that you value them. Recognize outstanding achievements promptly and publicly, but also take time to comment on the many small contributions your staff makes every day to the organization's mission. Don't forget — these are the people who make you look good!

Wish you all the best..

Regards,

Amit Seth.
23rd December 2007 From India, Ahmadabad
Its really excellent.. keep posting we are waiting for the next levels..... Thx AparnaSuresh
23rd December 2007 From India, Mumbai
Hi Rajat,
That was an interesting read, but, have you also tried to find out about the other sectors i.e., IT / Banking, e.t.c. There is a flight of talent crisscrossing barriers & borders.
Just looking at the BPO industry wont suffice, attrition is so sensitive a topic these days that it must be understood at a socio economic level.
A survey completed by an analysis spanning all the sectors taking into account--- profession, academics, age, gender, income levels, aspiration levels, needs, e.t.c must be considered.
After all we are talking about the productivity levels that contribute to the GDP.
Your article is good and i quite appreciate the hardwork that went into it.
Looking forward to read all your articles.
Thanks.
Best regards
Mohan

24th December 2007 From India, Bangalore
Hi Rajat,
Information shared by you is quite informative, I would really apreciate if you can share a sample format for Retention Policy considering an IT organization with strength of 1000 employees. Though attration rate is very low in our company, but I am formulating a new policy on the same, so need a sample format and key areas what all I need to cover. Your help in this regards would really be apreciated.
Regards
Bhawna Kumar

4th January 2008
Hi Mohan,

Thanks for your appreciation !

Yes, i agree with you that attrition rate in BPO industry is sensitive and quite high. Must reiterate the fact that most of the retention strategies as followed by the companies in other industries have been used or benchmarked by other non BPO industries.

Has anyone wondered that retention strategies has gained importance in recent times and why no one talks about the same as prevalent in 1980's or 1990's.

Regards,

Rajat

************************************************** ****

Hi Amit,

Thanks..for your valuable inputs..

Regards,

Rajat

************************************************** ******

Hi Bhawana,

Hmm. there is no such sample format as it needs to be prepared at the ground realities level and tempered with oganizational needs.

This is somewhat akin to what i advocate - to have a black book at the time of war as what action needs to be taken in the time of crisis! rather than a knee jerk reaction at the last minute without a gameplan.

Also, this has be supported by the top Management otherwise it would just become a paper exercise. For instance from your discussions with the employees and their supervisors would reveal to you as what needs to be done to retain the employee and come out with the template on a micro and macro level!.

Best wishes,

Rajat
15th January 2008 From India, Pune
Cos have to chart HR retention strategies'

Our Bureau

Hyderabad

WITH technology companies scaling up operations and expanding the scope of work out of India, they are faced with the challenge of low supply of employable talent, calling for a paradigm shift in their approach to manage and retain the exiting talent pool.

At an IT industry meeting organised by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) on "Human Capital management — Key success factors for knowledge-based industry," the President and CEO of Pinexe, Mr J.A. Choudary, said, "As MNCs and Indian companies take to intellectual property creation here presently from relatively lower-end services work a few years ago, we are faced with human resources crunch, particularly in high-end technology work. In fact, some reports suggest that attrition levels are as high as 40 per cent. The only way out is to develop appropriate retention strategies.

The Chief Operating Officer of Nipuna Services, Mr Sandeep Madan, described HR as a soft funky area, where it was always difficult to establish a right equation between demand and supply.

The Founder of Kenexa, Mr Rudy Karsan, said that the overall costs of human resources had rapidly increased; from about 26 per cent of the overall revenues, this has moved up to 62 per cent. The HR challenges could partly be tackled with better training and in-house retention moves.
The Director of Human Resources, Convergys, Mr Anthony Jose, said that there was a paradigm shift in the way human capital, the main resource in the software services industry, is managed. While corporations focus on external issues to sort out some of the day-to-day HR challenges, often the problem is within the organisation.




7th June 2008 From India, Pune
Hi Rajat,
You are awesome with the knowledge of retention and also the widesprad knowledge you have, I was engrossed into the details of the topic and all the valuable replies the members have shared on over here.
But my humble request would be "Please do not refer to the "BIBLE"
I hope I did not hurt your sentiment. Cheers Senior and awaiting for the next issue of brainspread.
Regards,
Lionel.
17th September 2008 From India, Madras
Hi Lionel,

Thank you for your warm compliments and am glad that you enjoyed reading the posts.

I sincerely apologize for hurting your sentiments which was absolutely unintentional on my part.

Am working on the next series which is getting delayed on account of huge pile up of work!.:(

Regards,

Rajat
17th September 2008 From India, Pune
Dear Mr Joshi,

Please advise me as how to deal with the situation.

A senior leader of the organization who is very aggressive in his behaviour is driving away the good people and yet the Management is keen on him as he is a Star sales person.

Look forward to hearing from you on this issue please.:icon1:

Regards,

Bhawana
10th October 2008 From India, Mumbai
Dear Rajat;

Just got to know through my seniors that you had conducted a session on Best and innovative HR Practices on Retention strategies last year at the HR meet which I had missed out.

Would appreciate if you can take up the same again and shall co-ordinate with others for the session.

Regards,

Bhawana
5th March 2009 From India, Mumbai
Hi Rajat,
Thanks for the write-up it is very very informative, I would like to say that you are a brain box behind the brain.
Cheers and woiuld expect you to throw some more ligh on operational issues about man/people management.
Regards,
Lionel.
6th March 2009 From India, Madras
Hi Lionel,
Thanks for your warm kinds..really appreciate your comments..
Hello Bhawana,
Trust this scrap finds you in high spirits.
Am proposing to have a knowledge sharing session on this saturday 21st March,2009.
The topic is :
Best Practices on Retention Strategies : Future Trends
This would last for an hour or so and another 30 minutes for discussion.
Time : 6:00 p.m.
Venue : Have spoken to some people on the same and should revert to me by Tuesday on the same.
Regards,
Rajat Joshi
15th March 2009 From India, Pune
Dear Mr. Joshi, Would you please share more gyan on this subject as it has been awhile we have not heard from you. Regards, Bhawana
25th February 2010 From India, Mumbai
Dear all,

This is interesting article about the changes which would happen once the American economy improves..

Lessons From the JetBlue Debacle
by Simon T. Bailey

When flight attendant Steven Slater dramatically "gave notice" to his employer by departing via a JetBlue airplane's emergency chute earlier this month, he became a harbinger of what may become one of the most chaotic employment scenarios: a mass exodus of the workforce.

While some may be quick to dismiss the flight attendant's rant as a random tirade that has no probability of happening in their own organization, savvy leaders should take a closer look at the sentiments registered by an MSNBC.com poll following the incident, in which half of the 91,000-plus voters deemed Slater a hero and only 10 percent suggested he was an "idiot."

It also portends another undercurrent in the American workforce: a serious case of wandering-eye syndrome that's going to lead to an influx of professional divorce if we're not careful.

Pay cuts, increased workloads and dispassionate leadership have resulted in a disturbing level of employee frustration. According to a January 2010 report by The Conference Board, job satisfaction in the U.S. is at a 22-year low - 55 percent of employed Americans are dissatisfied with their job and, as a result, they're seriously contemplating divorcing their employer.

For now, they're biding their time, but only until the economy rebounds just enough to follow Slater's lead and leap for something else. Granted, it's unlikely to be on par with the spectacle that played out on the tarmac at JFK, but it will happen.

A Salary.com survey of 14,000 workers and almost 400 HR managers found that economic growth, coupled with shifting employment options, has recently led 65 percent of U.S. workers to consider launching some sort of job search.

Here's a caution to leaders: Your partners are looking for new mates. What are you going to do about it?

It's true that leaders may have been focused on making sure the future is secure, but they've been neglecting their most important relationships, and their employees have developed a wandering eye. Like an unhappy spouse in a failing marriage, their employees are asking themselves, "Am I happy, appreciated, satisfied and cared about? Or are we merely going through the motions?"

For leaders who are seriously committed to avoiding a messy divorce and rebuilding their professional marriage, the best place to start is by honestly answering the following questions:

a) Do I care about the person behind the employee?

b) Am I the least bit interested in understanding what ignites employees' spirits and engages their hearts and minds?

c) When was the last time I had lunch in the employee break room or greeted my staff in the lobby upon arrival in the morning?

Individuals who have ever been in a long-term relationship know that little things make a big difference. Since small is the new big, what can leaders do on a small scale, but consistently, that will make a big impact to keep talent happily married to the company?

[About the Author: Simon T. Bailey is an organizational thought leader for Brilliance Institute, Inc. and author of "Release Your Brilliance."]

Regards,

Rajat Joshi
22nd August 2010 From India, Pune
Hi,
This is a COOL article. Though retention strategy varies across industries and functions what an employee expects from the company is "good recognition".
Here the rocket science is "how happy your employee is".
Dinesh L.
23rd March 2013 From India, Coimbatore

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