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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


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Keeping 'Em

(December 22, 2003) - Next year will be the attrition year. As the economy continues to sputter into shape and as growth slowly turns into interesting new opportunities, people will begin to move into new slots. This is the moment at which outstanding 'loyalty bills' come due.

As secure as it might be, little satisfaction comes from maintaining your income by doing the work of a couple of people who used to be your friends at work. Busier and more productive, perhaps. Satisfied, secure and challenged to invest passion, unlikely.

Certainly, not all of the 40% who say they'll change jobs at first opportunity actually will. Talking big and acting big are very separate things. But, the combination of increased attrition from retirement (moving to 5% per year) and increased opportunity (moving to 10% per year for a while) creates an economy wide attrition baseline of 15% per year if the company is a pretty good place to work.

Add a little planed growth and the Recruiting workload starts to look like 20% of the workforce in 2004. It will be a great year for the staffing industry. Boutique search firms will begin to flourish after a seven year down stretch. Third party operations will get the fees they ask for. Human Capital Acquisition budgets will routinely be overspent by the end of the second quarter.

And, good people will be leaving. Remember, the good ones go first because they can, What makes them powerful contributors in the workplace (the ability to view risk differently than others) is what makes them more mobile.

Typical retention programs focus on compensation and benefits. Keeping the early leavers depends on showing them the path towards greater impact and contribution. Interestingly, what keeps the mobile crew from leaving involves showing them how to create more value. Unfortunately, typical packaged programs depend on HR being in its usual posture of not understanding the actual job or the potential for individual contribution.

John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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