Employee Retention, it is supposed to be a good thing.  When I hear the word retention, it makes me think of attorneys and – retainers.  If an attorney is retained, you either pay to use their services, or you pay to keep them available so you can use them. So now back to employee retention; we do pay them and hopefully they stick around.   That is the premise, you want to keep them around – or do you?  This was a subject me an my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder discussed last week  You can read her take on the matter here.

Now regarding  employee retention, Jack Welch, former CEO of G.E. felt that, at a minimum, 10% of workforce needed to leave every year. Now, this theory did get Jack and his company in a little hot water. Even so, SHRM must have tacitly endorsed this, as they had Jack as an opening speaker in 2009 in New Orleans. So some turnover can’t be all bad, and there is going to be a certain amount of turnover no matter what.  Employees will move, leave, graduate, quit to care for loved ones, die and/or whatever else you can imagine.

So with all of that out of the way it boils down to what are you doing to keep most of your better employees from jumping ship?  For the last several years, the economy has been in the doldrums and very few people have left any job because there were so few to move to. But now some of the soothsayers are prognosticating that when, the economy turns around, and it will, Katy bar the door.  The theory is that all of the best talent will be stolen. It will be courted away from your business with more pay, better benefits, on-site daycare and employee massages.

Now there are some of us employers who really have not been able to land the top tier talent.  For example: my son who graduated last year with a B.S. in M.E. told me that Microsoft visited his campus and was only interested in talking to the top 10 in the class.  (That may be factually inaccurate, but suffice it to say they set the bar pretty high.) I have never had a swing at those kids, or employees of that caliber.  Our organization has had to settle for the kids with a 3.0 who have a well rounded balanced life and are not expecting the world’s treasure’s at their feet.

Ever since these folks, the 3.0 ers, just like all of our employees, have come to work for our Company we have tried to treat them with respect and provide them with the best pay and benefits our Company can afford.  That’s all we can do.  We will continue to do so. If this doesn’t keep our “B” level talent then I guess we will have to move down to “B-“or “C+” talent.  We can’t give the store away and will never have the resources of Microsoft of Exxon.

We will hire the people who wish to work at our Company and keep them as long as they want to stay.  I hope this is for a long time.  I am sure that any employer who treats their staff fairly, pays them a fair market based wage and offers reasonable benefits, will in-turn keep most of their best folks.

Here is the takeaway Focus on what you do control TODAYand how you and your Company treat people EVERYDAY. Too much time spend worrying about what could be is simply wasted effort.