How to Retain People

So, I was on Stack Overflow (I like it there). The keychain “feature” Apple offers drives me nuts from time to time (or, maybe it’s just the sketchy way Chrome saves passwords…), and I was looking for solutions. Came across a question on the topic, with a highly rated answer. The answerer, a guy named Amro, has a blog.

Long(ish) story short, he has a solid post from about a year ago, about how to hang onto your employees – particularly the tech talent that’s all the rage these days. Bunch of good thoughts, but the one that sticks with me is “Employees don’t want to feel like “resources.””

Bingo. I work with someone who refers to our colleagues as resources. I’ve never once heard them say “colleague”, “employee”, or even “human resource”. A cog in a factory, a robot welding a car, a cow in a freaking farm: are resources. People aren’t. People, btw, absolutely know who refers to them as resources – and, feel the same level of loyalty to that company as, say, that cog does to its factory.

Want to retain people? The bells & whistles, benefits and pay, matter, but they stop mattering the minute you try and turn those people into “resources”. Want to know how they feel? Here:

Cut. It. Out.

Seriously. Shocking that it’s still going on – and, my peers in the HR & Recruiting communities have a share of the blame. Fight the power, etc etc. Make sure you capture data on work-life balance both when you’re recruiting as well as during exit interviews. Tie that into why people are leaving your company, and add in how often it comes up as a pain-point when you’re talking to candidates. If you can reduce turnover by 10%, multiply that times your cost-per-hire, and you can make a pretty quick case to your colleagues about treating people like, well, people.

*Also – and as an aside – Amro’s a great example of why it pays to have some level of presence online, and in your field. He’s now thought highly of by a company in his space, that’s doing very cool things. This is how you maintain a career, people.

6 thoughts on “How to Retain People

  1. Jeff Newman (@Apikoros18) 09/10/2013 / 12:00 pm

    Something I am guilty of is calling everyone I recruit candidates and/or applicants. I have recognized that this is a way of emotionally distancing myself. Is there a better terminology? What do you recommend? I am on the same page BTW, as regards calling human beings resources. The only phrase I dislike more is Human Capital. Also, as much as I like Brazil, office tedium, to me, is best summed up here:

  2. Martin 09/10/2013 / 12:39 pm

    I don’t think candidate is bad – at least in terms of talking with the hiring manager, etc. It’s just the place a person is in their relationship to a particular situation. What they symbolized, or – perhaps more fittingly – what they come to symbolize. Function following form, in defiance of our friends from Black Mountain?

    On the clip, yes. One building upon the other. Same Minnesota bred hand touching on both…

  3. Curtis Whitler 10/10/2013 / 6:44 am

    I think it’s obvious that very few people would stay with the organization only because of the compensation and turn the blind eye to the fact that they are treated as resources, that they aren’t recognized or at least encouraged. Keeping to this management style is fraught with difficulties to keep your top talents. On the one hand, employers must recognize the importance of employees, on the other hand, employees must recognize the needs of the employer. If this balance is maintained then retention won’t be a problem.

  4. Recruitment Agency Darlington 11/15/2013 / 12:44 pm

    Good article and good video. I don’t think candidate is to bad as they typically are candidates as they’re applying fo the jobs when it comes to HR and recruitment. I took a look at the link from Curtis to on retaining top talent, very good.

  5. Directing Edge 05/13/2014 / 3:50 am

    Consider your Human Resource as a valuable asset and put all your efforts to cherish them and retain them. Appreciate their work and make them feel self accomplished.

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