Employee Retention

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sjones/employeeretention.asp

  • I agree with mostly what you have written..loyalty is or should be a great strength that companies should have in their employees and vice versa...

    i do think that both are needed, high turnover and low turnover of employees...without this usually the same things are done the same way for too long...eg coding standards, dba standards..without some new people in the mix at least semi regularly (say every 2 - 3 years) those that are *lifers* in the company dont get challenged or grow within the company...i see it a lot when i visit client sites for technical implementations...a user who i see there doing the same job for 2 years suddenly get more enthused and excited and almost changes their ways entirely when new members join that company etc. variety is the spice of life....

    a balance must be struck as when to retain an emloyee and when to let them go too.

    just my 2c

    Life is far too important to be taken seriously

  • Our professors always told us, it is expected in our branch, that we make a shift every 3-4 years. If you stay in one place for too long, you start to rust.

    I am a DB & Software Developer and I also agree with you on the loyalty aspect of retaining employees, but it is hard to convince your boss to jump to a new technology, or even to a new programming language for that matter. Hence employees kind of get stuck and haven't got the time to evolve - of course you can take your free time to learn all the new stuff, but I work to live, I don't live to work.

    And if you do have to look for a new job, because your firm goes off the market (weren't innovative enough ) - then you haven't exactly got the skills the market is looking for, so you once again have to take a cutback in wages ...

    There are pros & cons of retaining employees - but I think in a branch that develops as fast as IT does, it can be quite risky for both employee & employer.


  • I think one of your comments hits the nail very squarely on the head: 'showing some loyalties to your employees'. Most companies regard loyalty as being an upwards process by which the employee is loyal to the company. However, I think that loyalty is a mirror; the company is loyal to the staff and then that loyalty is reflected back. At the end of the day (and to use another analogy) a fish rots from the head down. If there is no loyalty at the bottom, it is because there is no loyalty at the top.

  • A lot of people don't like the stress of changing jobs and possibly moving house to boot.  These are often depicted as lifers and as such they can be abandoned by the management because they are available to prop up the older systems that newer employers won't touch.  As a result their skills rust and their career stagnates.

    This isn't loyalty this is the usual reward for not job hopping. 

    Failing to retrain and remotivate long serving staff is a usual management failure - many long servers are undermotivated and therefore less productive than staff that have been with the company for, say, a year or more.  But they are still more useful than college starters or job hoppers because they have more business knowledge and committment. 

    If companies committed the same resources to training the long servers as these other groups they would reap proper long-term benefits.  Whereas training job hoppers or graduates is pointless as they will probably move on within a year anyway.  Retraining long-servers will actually pay for itself.

  • I agree with you that it is critical to have intangible rewards, such as a good working environment, friendly co-workers and management, and recognition for your achievements. 

    My company offers, among other things, a soda fountain in our break room, where you can fill'er up to your hearts content.  And every year or so, we have an election for either Pepsi or Coke products.  It is one of the funniest things I've seen, the friendly-but-politically-charged environment we experience as we approach election day.

    I think some companies tend to overshoot the mark, though, and reduce financial incentives in favor of these intangibles.  I've also noticed that when bonuses are unexpectedly slashed or cancelled, there had better be one heck of an intangible benefit replacing it.  Otherwise, morale takes a nose dive.

  • Your skill set, expertise, diligence, and social fit to the workplace is the product you offer; the product an employer buys.  Like any product, it is subject to the laws of supply and demand.

    Beyond that, acquisitions, out sourcing, and economic downturns can trigger a layoff.

    So always keep your product in demand and know where the demand is the most for it.  Every 5 years, run your own little market analysis for the product you offer to see if you should exercise your side of that "at-will" agreement you signed.

  • I have to agree with most of the article.

    To me, loyalty is a two-way street.  It MUST be given by both sides.  And neither side should expect it "just because".  There has to be a constant renewal and proof of loyalty if it is to thrive.  I won't point fingers at which side stopped giving (because I think both sides have some blame) but loyalty seems to be more the exception than the rule today.

    From my experiences as a contractor (perhaps because it's more "acceptable" to move around more), I now see loyalty as more of a personal relationship than a employer-employee one.

  • would it be a fair call to say that loyalty and hence retention is more important in a small company than in a fortune 500 or large compaies?

    i think loyalty is a bigger part in small companies, but larger companies i think work on less loyalty incentives and more on pay incentives...

    Life is far too important to be taken seriously


    Your article is very well thought out and written.  I agree with the content of your article and am glad that someone outside academia is espousing these tenets.  For the few of us that have earned a college degree, the content of this article is basic organizational management material which we should be applying in our work-a-day lives.

  • You hit it on the head. Show me a company that values there IT employees and I'll go work for them. Until then, I'm sticking it out as a consultant. Much of what you write about is talked about in Tom DeMarco's book called Slack. It is a great, short read if you are looking for inspiration on future articles on this topic.

  • I think the issue of skill growth (call it training, professional development, or just 'experience') is fundamental. Too often (in my humble experience), managers have some performance metric that is taken as the gospel truth, and direct their efforts to moving that metric in whatever direction suits their bonus. This has the effect of creating a 'production line' mentality, focusing on short term results and the 'quick fix'. Instead, providing workers with the opportunities to deepen their understanding, and then find new ways to apply their learnings, creates innovative solutions to problems that will improve the metrics by default.

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