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How to Retain the Good Ones

In today’s job market, most Human Resources professionals know the challenging facts:

  • Jobless claims in the US have dropped to their lowest in five decades

  • US employment rate is lowest since the year 2000 (4.2%)

  • The demand outweighs the supply; there are more jobs than talent

  • Expectations of the workforce, led by the millennial's, are changing, bringing a greater desire for work-life balance and accelerated autonomy

  • There is a skills gap across multiple industries, particularly blue-collar workers

Labor experts only expect these challenges to grow to a greater level in the future, making it increasingly difficult to attract, recruit, and retain valued employees. Because of these challenges, it is more important, now than ever before, to engage and retain the “good ones”.

First, it is important to develop an effective employer brand. In other words, assure the public knows what you stand for, why you exist, and what you can do for them. If done correctly, your positive reputation will not only increase your business but will have a marked impact on your talent acquisition and retention efforts. Here are some suggestions for enhancing your brand:

  • Be known for your diverse and inclusive work environment

  • Boast about your company uniqueness – what is different that you want others to know?

  • Promote your best practices, awards, and positive accolades

Second, focus on “why employees stay” and work to make improvements within your company. An employee will stay with an organization as long as the inducement it offers (pay, good working conditions, developmental opportunities) is equal to or greater than contributions (time and effort) required of them. More specifically:

  • Employees become embedded in their jobs and their communities. They develop connections and relationships, both on and off the job. Leaving these relationships requires severing or rearranging these areas of their life. Foster team cohesiveness, provide clear communication about the company’s business objectives, and help employees understand how their job is a direct correlation.

  • Employees want a good working relationship with their supervisor and/or manager. Good managers engage in open and honest communication, focus on career growth and development, and take care of issues immediately.

Lastly, be in tune with why employees leave and move swiftly to make corrections and eliminate these barriers. More specifically:

  • Total compensation, including pay, job security, and benefits carry a greater importance now as more employees are leaving jobs than in last 10 years for these reasons. Continually keep an eye on the market and make adjustments accordingly.

  • The traditional “in office” work is unattractive to many job seekers and employees. It is antiquated to expect your staff to work the same schedule, at the same desk, using the same methods as 10-15 years ago. Flexible scheduling, remote work, and greater autonomy are now necessary.

  • Weak leaders need to be coached “up” or escorted “out”. As harsh as this may sound, poor leadership will drive out good employees if they don’t take care of issues (such as sexual harassment and excessive absenteeism) or fail to maintain open communications.

Many of these suggestions require an open-minded team of leaders led by a forward-thinking Human Resources Manager. The way we thought about workers in the past will not cut it now or later. Your influence can make such a difference in your organization if you take steps now to plan for the future success and help others to understand the effectiveness of changing views that were hard-wired in the past.

At the Bradley Partnerships, we help leaders transition from the past into the future by conducting an organizational assessment and then implementing workforce strategies, strategic planning, employee engagement surveys, benefits analysis and metrics. Please check us out at or contact us at for more information.

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