Monday, July 26, 2004

Re-recruiting your knowledge nomads

Niall Kennedy comments on an excellent HBS article, "High Turnover: Should You Care?". Some excerpts from the article on commitment and productivity:
    Length of time in a company is the most common way of measuring employee commitment. And it is the least interesting and least helpful approach for managers. Far more important is the quality and quantity of work someone does when in a company.
And on retention and job satisfaction:
    Employers do often look at turnover as only a bad thing, [but] research has demonstrated that some turnover is healthy, indeed essential to organizational well being. But even more important is what managers do when they see turnover as a bad thing. To drive it down they often employ the wrong remedies.

    Managers who were asked to identify ways to retain workers came back with action steps like "increase salary" and "change his or her title." These are small changes [that] may keep an employee in a company for a couple of months, but they will not hold an employee for long, and little productivity will be gained. The managers we asked to identify ways to elicit commitment proposed deeper and more individualized action steps, like "find out what challenges make him or her tick" and "provide opportunities for learning on the job." ... Most employees seek to be valued and engaged.
Turnover is a symptom, not the problem. Keep people challenged, learning, and happy. It's good advice.

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