Tag Archives: employee retention

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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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Employee Loyalty and the Search for Retention

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The organization you work for probably cares about employee loyalty. When you agree with the work, accept the compensation, and start the job there is an expected commitment, right?

employee loyalty appreciative strategies

Loyalty is important for most people. It is important for businesses with their employees as well as with their clients and customers. The trouble spot for loyalty is that not everyone agrees on the definition.

Many people suggest that they are very committed and loyal, but what that really means is that they feel loyal until a better opportunity presents itself. In this case, one might believe there is loyalty. Another might suggest that there is none.

A different definition might suggest that loyalty is earned. Doors that might exist are ignored, or never considered. It might have something to do with the integrity of your word but it might also have much to do with mutual respect.

Employee Loyalty

Employers believe that they make an investment in their employees. Many of them do, quite substantially at times.

These employers understand that doors might open, but they really aren’t worried about someone exiting. Not because other opportunities don’t exist, but because the employer to employee relationship is well respected and it has been earned.

They aren’t worried about blocking an exit. They are more worried about somebody who wants to leave staying. In this environment loyalty is self-managed or self-regulated. It comes naturally.

The Other Type

There is another type of employer. This employer wants to get the job accomplished with as little cost as possible, and who doesn’t? But there must be a balance.

The CFO, Controller, or CPA love the management of the numbers, but the best of those also recognize the value of the people. The trouble occurs when the culture of managing costs outweigh the respect of the human relationships.

This type of employer might attempt to (metaphorically) block doors and lock people in. Relationships are viewed as expendable and short-term. Loyalty is (attempted to be) forced by management.

Search for Retention

In the search for retention sometimes the right words are chosen, but the conversation is not compelling.

It’s not compelling because what is shown is different from what is told. The often unspoken message becomes, I don’t care about you. The result is a feeling of, you don’t care about me, and so I don’t care about you.

Retention shouldn’t have to be created by rules, fear, and blocked doors. This isn’t loyalty, it’s not respect.

Employee loyalty and respect happen when the door is there, but no one is interested in what’s behind it.

An occasional glance might occur, and to some extent people will come and go.

You might discover that you are happy about that.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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