Dr. John Sullivan has a helpful post at ere.com today on creating a world class retention program. I encourage you to check it out, but here’s a quick intro to whet your appetite:


“If you need a quick assessment of whether your program has major flaws, here are some criteria that can give you an instant assessment without having to collect any data.


– You consider the business impact of every employee leaving to be equal


– You have not calculated the dollar impact of retention on business results


– You apply retention prevention measures equally to all employees


– You liberally use retention bonuses


– You rely on exit interviews to reveal the actual causes of turnover.


– Your retention strategy has no formal name other than to “keep good people”


– Believing it’s “the money” that causes people to leave and not bad management.”


My experience with retention programs is that very good programs are rare, often because HR people are often overwhelmed with the short term fires: recruiting, performance management cycles, compensation programs, or other initiatives. Creating the metrics and framework for a retention program is a super way for an HR Leader to deepen a connection with a CFO and CEO around a quantitative way of measuring the employee base (as are engagement surveys) and alignment to key strategic initiatives.


If people can see the difference in costs and value to the organization of different types of turnover, then investment choices for employee and culture development can be made thoughtfully so proper buy-in can happen with the extended management team and integrated into the other people and company initiatives that need to get done. The worst thing you can do is to (a) not have a plan and (b) make snap decisions or place people into roles they do not desire or are ill prepared for, both of which can cause remaining employees to start to question their own careers with the organization.


If this is something you’d like to explore with your organization, I’d be delighted to help.

Adaptive Talent is a talent consultancy designed to help organizations achieve amazing results and ongoing adaptability. Founded in 2008 and based in Vancouver, Canada we offer retained search, assessments, total rewards consulting, training, leadership coaching and development programs, and culture & organizational development consulting.