Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Retention Management – What Strategies Are (Not) Working?

The U.S. added 157,000 payroll positions in January according to The New York Times. Such job growth, however, did not result in a lower unemployment rate. On the contrary, the unemployment rate rose to 7.9% for the month. What is going on?

There must be more than one reason behind that. One could be employers now require existing employees to take over some of the responsibilities for the vacant positions until they are filled. When employers are not filling the vacant positions, the increased number of payroll positions does not help lower the unemployment rate.

Another possible reason is that fewer employers are willing to invest in candidates with less experience but great potential. Companies prefer to hire candidates who are ready to plug in and perform the job immediately --- usually those holding a similar position in a competitive firm. By doing so, companies can save a good amount of training and development cost. Therefore, it may seem everyone is “hiring,” but the truth is everyone is fighting for the same candidates who have already had a job. When no one is hiring the unemployed, the increased number of empty positions has little effect on the unemployment rate.

I consider what I mentioned above the “malpractices” in HR operations because these companies are doing nothing but “digging the grave” for themselves. Today, almost every professional is on LinkedIn. Many are also active on other social media platforms. As compared to regular staff, valuable employees are more vulnerable to be seen on the internet and be approached by a competitor. As a result, when the economy is turning around, the companies that require employees to do more for less or do not want to invest in their human capital will end up losing the top talent for the competitors.

Considering retention management is a system-wise approach to encourage valuable employees to stay with the employer, I would like to ask you the following questions: What considerations a company must take in managing employee retention? Based on what you experienced in the workplace or what you have read in literature, what tactics can employers use to manage employee retention? Which tactics work well? Which do not? For what reasons?

Relevant discussion:

Rampell, Catherine. (2013, February 2). Job growth steady, but unemployment rises to 7.9%. The New York Times, pp. B1. Also available online via
The picture was downloaded from FrankCrum