Retaining Knowledge Workers LO11903

Hirsch, Eric (
14 Jan 97 10:31:31 EST

Replying to LO11703 --

Retaining knowledge workers is not that much different then retaining any
employee that is worth keeping. Money is not the sole motivator, however
it does play a role in any decision making process. There are numerous
factors that go into the process of deciding to switch companies. There is
also the factor of feeling it is time to move on vs. being recruited by
another firm.

I myself have changed jobs 9 times in the last 13 years, living in 8
states and two countries. I have changed jobs for probably every reason,
including money. The only time that I was disappointed with the change was
when I left for location. I worked in OKC, and I hated living there.
However, the culture of the company and office that I worked for was
probably the best, but it could not make up for the living environment.

That aside, in todays' world, people are going to be changing companies
more rapidly than they ever did in the past. With flatten organizations,
limited growth opportunities, and the cut back on companies developing
their own, people will move much more quickly.

I believe the essence to retention is that of community, opportunity,
development and pay.

Community is important because of the feeling that people what to belong
to something, typically that want to belong to something bigger than
themselves. This sense of belonging permeates the organization, the
feelings of being part of a goal or a direction. The sense gives more than
"you're here do your work go home." You are part of something that could
be great. And of course that you are wanted in that community.

Opportunity is that which drives many. Without the option for promotion
many are looking for new challenges. Whether that is meeting clients, or
doing new design or getting to lead cross functional project, these are
some of the issues the new flattened organization has to face.

Development is what this list is all about. Learning. If that is not
offered or easily obtained employees will move to place where they can
continue to learn. It is that simple.

Finally, pay is an issue. I have read post that said they moved for pay
and that was a mistake. If pay was not important, how many people
voluntary take lower paying jobs? Not many. Pay has to be competitive, and
without promotional possibilities, it needs to be based on something more
than merit. Probably the most popular method right now is broad banding.
This has its advantages and disadvantages.

After switching companies and jobs as often as I have and being in charge
of retaining talent and finding new talent, this is what I have come to
recognize as the areas my company needs to concentrate on.

Keep the Faith

Eric Hirsch

-- (Hirsch, Eric)

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