Employee Retention Agony and Your Brand

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employee retention agony

Employee Retention Agony and Your Brand

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Are you finding good employees? Are you feeling employee retention agony? Low unemployment rate challenges are real, but is that the only difficulty?

There is a lot of chatter about employee retention rates and finding the right employees to join your team. Every organization faces this potential problem.

How do the best navigate this challenge?

Root Cause

Like solving any problem, it is important to get to the root cause. It is easy to place blame on surface problems. Sometimes we call these, the presenting problem.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are typically not at the root.

Do low unemployment numbers mean that there is a challenging labor pool? Absolutely. Are people working? Yes. Are there people not working by choice? Yes.

It is easy to look at the trend data, throw your arms up and say, “We can’t find anybody to work for us.”

In a thriving economy, great people are gravitating towards the greatest organizations.

Employee Retention Agony

I’m not suggesting that the data isn’t real. I’m not suggesting that there are not challenges. What I am suggesting is that often the struggle for talent or labor starts with the organizational culture. It is the root.

There are several trends:

  1. Government agencies meet with desperate CEO’s to discuss the labor shortage. Government agencies ask CEO’s because they assume they know. CEO’s ask themselves because they assume their workforce doesn’t know, or they ask fearful employees who give answers that they assume the CEO wants to hear. Often the conclusion is that there is a tough labor pool.
  2. Some organizations attempt to change, to become more attractive by making some improvements. They will install new lights, buy a few new desks and chairs for the office, paint the walls, and upgrade the break room. This is changing the environment, not the culture.
  3. Human resource teams attend or host job fairs to recruit. Good and helpful idea, still not addressing the root.

As a result, nothing really changes.

Certainly, there is not one stand-alone reason for the tough labor pool or retention challenges.

Unfortunately, one of the last things many organization leaders consider is the culture and reputation of their business. This probably has more to do with their challenges than what they realize or are willing to admit.

A coat of paint, freshened up facilities, governmental awareness, and job fairs all matter, yet they do little to nothing to help improve the culture or world-of-mouth. (Yes, it is more the word, social media reaches farther.)

The unknowing, asking the unsure, is a surefire way to have a discussion. Results are questionable.

In a tough labor market, the best employees are going to work at the best organizations.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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