Is Employee Retention Dead? Not if You Focus on the Right Things

July 19, 2019 Kevin Edmunds

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I recently received a press release for a new business book, and the title of the release really caught my attention. It was this: “Employee Retention is Dead. Embrace the Work Cycle.”

Now, for someone who is in the business of helping companies host incentive programs with the specific objective to retain top employees, that headline startled me. And reading the rest of the release wasn’t any more comforting:

“In less than a decade, work anniversaries will become a thing of the past. More companies are failing at employee retention, with three million Americans leaving their job voluntarily each month, according to federal statistics. ‘We need to acknowledge and embrace the idea that people aren’t staying with companies very long; for most Americans, it’s about 24 months,’ says Josh Levine, author of the book Great Mondays that addresses new trends. ‘Leaders must prepare for the new reality of the work cycle, stop wasting effort on retention, and start thinking about how to get people into the organization fast, get them up to speed, and get them creating the desired value in a short period of time.’”

To some degree, Levine is correct. New generations of employees have different personal and professional values, goals, and aspirations than their predecessors. They also need to be brought up to speed and become productive as quickly as possible. But that’s where I—along with countless other executives across every industry—stop agreeing with what Levine says. And I disagree because of one simple fact: Employees are human beings, with feelings and emotions that cannot be disregarded. As salespeople do their work to drive more revenue for their company, they absolutely need appreciation and recognition—and if they get that from their employer in the form of wonderful experiences, they are not going to seek work elsewhere. Human nature–the desire to be acknowledged and appreciated—will not waver among the new generation, nor in future generations.

We at AIC Hotel Group have assisted clients with far too many incentive programs that got tremendous participant feedback to think that such experiences don’t have a strong effect on top performers. And if you have any doubts about the effectiveness of your company’s incentive programs right now, please contact us so we can provide you with fresh ideas and real-world examples of programs that work wonderfully.


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