Good people—valuable employees—quit their jobs every day. Usually, they leave for betterpositions elsewhere. Consider the case of an experienced underwriter in a NortheasternInsurance Company named Kane, who scribbled the following remarks on his exit interviewquestionnaire: “This job isn’t right for me. I like to have more input on decisions that affectme—more of a chance to show what I can do. I don’t get enough feedback to tell if I’m doinga good job or not, and the company keeps people in the dark about where it’s headed. Basically,I feel like an interchangeable part most of the time”.In answer to the question about whether the company could have done anything to keep him,Ken replied simply, “Probably not.” Why do so many promising employees leave their jobs?And why do so many others stay on but perform at minimal levels for lack of betteralternatives? One of the main reasons—Ken’s reason—can be all but invisible, because it’s so
common in so many organizations: a system wide failure to keep good people. Corporationsshould be concerned about employees like Ken. By investing in human capital, they mayactually help reduce turnover, protect training investments, increase productivity, improvequality, and reap the benefits of innovative thinking and teamwork.Human resource professionals and managers can contribute to corporate success by boostingemployees’ empowerment, security, identity, “connectedness,” and competence. How? Byrecognizing the essential components of keeping their best people and by understanding whatenhances and diminishes those components. Ken doubts that his company will ever change,but other organizations are taking positive steps to focus on and enhance employee retention.As a result, they’re reducing turnover, improving quality, increasing productivity, andprotecting their training investments.