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Solving the Current Employee - Retention Problem
Human Resources » Employee Relations

Chrm Message From: CHRM Total Posts: 209 Join Date:
Rank: Coach Post Date: 08/08/2006 02:03:10 Points: 1045 Location: India

Dear Colleagues,

Losing your best employees to other companies? Having to work harder and longer because your coworker went to a better job with "more opportunity?" Is it possible to stop the bleeding before you too become "burned out" and depart for greener pastures?

The surprising answer is yes. But, don't look at incentive programs to stop the exodus. "Pay increases made to retain employees after they have made a decision to leave are only effective for nine to 12 months," according to Teri Kreps, an expert in human resource management with over 20 years experience and the founder of HR Advantage in Colorado Springs.

Kreps reports that most employees who have voiced dissatisfaction will still leave even after the company has increased pay or benefits in an effort to make them stay. "There's something else driving the employee away. They will leave unless underlying issues are resolved," Kreps said.

And why not? Today employees have the freedom to roam. At the recent Celebrate Technology Conference in Colorado Springs, human resource executives presented employee benefit packages that covered all of the bases - from health insurance to dry cleaning, from day care to flex time. Employers have become quite considerate and appreciative of their employees.

Yet, employees still leave, which costs employers plenty. Recent data compiled by the Saratogo Institute in California shows the average exempt position remains vacant for 75 calendar days and costs a minimum of a year's salary to hire and train the new employee to regain the lost customer and supplier contacts.

In order to arrive at a solution to retaining valued employees, I want to apply some leading edge work done in the field of psychology. Dr. Linda Berens, director and founder of the Huntington Beach, Calif. - based Temperament Research Institute. She has researched human motivation for 22 years and says "individuals seek satisfaction for a core need, or sets of core needs every day."

Her studies reveal how each employee will seek to regularly gratify their needs in one of four distinct ways. The first way is to better understand the meaning and significance of one's own life - to understand how it's unique. This group engages their diplomatic awareness to inspire and mentor. A second way is to seek mastery and self-control - to be universally knowledgeable and competent in whatever they undertake. They prefer to engage their skills and strategy of design. A third way is to seek membership or belonging to a group and solidify this alliance by fulfilling responsibilities or duties for the group. They emphasize planning and logistics in their interaction. The final group needs the freedom to act according to the needs of the moment so as to make a unique impact on others or the situation. They use their tactical intelligence to solve real time problems.
When we take Berens' fundamental needs theory into account, it's easy to see how a person with core needs left unfulfilled in the tasks they perform daily will ultimately lose interest in their work. Employees inevitably depend on coffee breaks, day dreaming, problem-solving of non-work related activities (e.g. crossword puzzles, Solitaire), or interrupting coworkers to satisfy their core needs while "physically present" at work. Carried to an extreme, such activities lead to lower productivity, morale problems and possible dismissal or resignation.

Unfortunately, Berens confirms that individuals will seek to satisfy these core needs on a daily basis regardless of the corporate agenda. These destructive activities, therefore, won't decrease until they're converted into constructive activities. In other words, they must be accounted for in each employee's daily work so that they can be fulfilled.
How then do we stop valuable employees from walking away, or worse, being fired?

Organizations must plan to use the personality diversity of the members in the group in planning group direction. When a work group can identify the different values based perspectives it contains, the group can plan on using those differences to better conduct its planning and problem solving.

Numerically under-represented personality temperaments can be brought to the forefront to help guide the group beyond the "we've always done it that way" mentality. In addition, the inclusion of these "other points of view" in the group's action plan will allow for all members to identify with their piece of the group's plan for success. Previously, only those in the majority or who are on the boss' side could contribute.

By allowing for differing perspectives to be recognized in problem solving or process improvement, the entire group wins by moving out of "group think" traps. Additionally, the individual wins by seeing his or her solutions used to solve problems plaguing the team. Individual ownership and empowerment is then only a short step away.

We've all been on athletic teams or involved in groups that were just plain fun to be on because we contributed to the group's success. Wasn't it hard for you to leave that team or group? Don't make it easy for your employees to leave, make it hard - it's possible to plan on getting them involved. It is time to build a plan to incorporate personality diversity into your company's future if you want to retain your employees and capture their ideas - Adapted from David Specht, Special Report for The Colorado Springs Business Journal, January 22, 1999



"To must stay in the game" - Claude Bristol

Chrm Message From: Lucy Doss Total Posts: 21 Join Date:  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 10/08/2006 02:55:11 Points: 105 Location: India

Dear Saumil,

I fully subscribe to your point of view.
Let me just add a thought for your consideration as well as other members.

Some people are habitual job-hoppers. I know a person who changed 12 jobs by the time he reached an age of 50 yrs.

Now here is my suggestion.

 Let us not unduly worry about such persons. Let them go happily because, if we try to retain them, they will remain miserable and dis-loyal and keep spoiling other good employees too.

Any views are most welcome.


Lucy Doss

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