Tag Archive: Retention


Celebrate, Not Just Tolerate

“Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.” – Paul F. Davis, motivational speaker and life coach.

Davis also said: “If you don’t feel it, flee from it.”

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Aren’t these quotes diametrically opposed to the legendary: “Winners never quit, quitters never win”?

The answer is affirmative, but so what? Life is simply too short.

As the stubborn economic downturn moves from year-seven into year-eight, there remains a tremendous amount of emphasis on the officially unemployed, 10.9 million; underemployed. 7.7 million (e.g., part-time jobs with no benefits); and to those who simply gave up the fight to find a job, 762,000.

That’s nearly 20 million Americans, if you are scoring at home.

There are millions more who are literally trapped in lousy jobs (a large percentage of 43.8 percent of the nation that make up the total working population). Some of these workers are in dead-end positions. Some are under the thumb of authoritative bossholes. And even more may be sent packing in the next reduction in force (RIF), downsizing, rightsizing, duplication-elimination exercise, restructuring or whatever pleasant term you want to attach to the elimination of jobs.

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There is also the question whether employers, who have taken their employees for granted and/or treated them miserably, fully understand the consequences of their totalitarian behavior. For example, the Edelman Trust Barometer once again in 2013 revealed the public is more inclined to trust businesses, patronize their stores and purchase their products that have a track record of treating their employees well.

Quiz: What is one of the first things that come into mind when you think of Walmart? Low prices? How about the widespread perception that the retail giant is less than generous with its 2.2 million employees or associates in Bentonville-ese.

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The $474.8 billion world’s largest publicly traded company (NYSE: WMT) has even sponsored a food drive asking its associates to assist other less-fortunate associates make ends meet for the holidays. Talk about a public relations disaster. How do you make lemonade out of lemons on this one?

Almost DailyBrett opined repeatedly that all recessions/downturns/economic funks eventually come to an end. The Laws of Economics with their cyclical natures simply do not go away.

What does this mean for today’s employer despots? It means that “retention” will someday (it’s coming, trust me) become a scary word. Think of the start of the Indy 500 with the pace car heading off the track and the green flag flying as their free-at-last, Oh God their-free-at-last employees head for the exits to the siren call of the recruiter cherry pickers.

These employees will indeed go where they are celebrated or at least where they believe they will be celebrated.

The hardest questions to answer in this discussion are how much longer will it be before the coming economic upswing? Even tougher to answer is whether a barely tolerated underutilized and underappreciated contributor should just wait for better days or should she or he seek out right now that opportunity to be celebrated?

Clearly, there are hundreds of thousands who are not “feeling it” when it comes to their present state of affairs. Should they flee?

The easy answer is, “yes,” but sometimes pulling off that feat in the face of kids in school, spouse with a job in town, underwater mortgage, not enough other opportunities make fleeing risky and problematic. Keep in mind if one stays and is laid off, change is at hand whether wanted or not.

As a Type A personality, who is perpetually proactive, I believe in always being prepared, keeping on the lookout for opportunities to be celebrated, and more importantly to be respected. Think of it another way: No Guts, No Glory.

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We have discussed before the wisdom of an up-to-date resume, a complete LinkedIn profile that sells your story, and a digital network of former superiors, subordinates, and present colleagues, partners and friends who are ready and willing to help.

There is also the need to Google (corporate verb) yourself and appreciate what others are potentially reading about you, and conceivably what is being said and illustrated by people around the world who coincidentally share your name.

This is the time to take every step conceivable to protect your reputation and to manage the most important brand on the planet: Your personal brand.

As you come to the end of 2013 and look toward 2014, you don’t have to put up with bad behavior. You deserve the best that life has to offer. You are only here once. Go out and be celebrated before it is too late.

http://followpics.net/if-you-dont-feel-it-flee-from-it-go-where-you-are-celebrated-not-merely-tolerated/

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/126432-if-you-don-t-feel-it-flee-from-it-go-where

http://www.paulfdavis.com/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/gallup-daily-workforce.aspx

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2013/

http://www.edelman.com/post/earning-consumer-trust/

http://business.time.com/2013/11/18/walmart-seeks-food-donations-to-help-needy-employees/

 

In the age of the “forward” button on the Microsoft Outlook toolbar, there is no such thing as a family letter for major publicly traded corporations, particularly one with more than 300,000 employees, $114 billion in revenues and $98 billion in market capitalization.

So if this truth is indivisible, you might as well treat an employee letter as any other public transmission to Wall Street, your customers, your partners, your suppliers, both the financial (buy and sell side) and the market analyst communities and of course the media.

Let’s face it, Hewlett-Packard through no fault of its own fired the shot Hurd around the tech world Friday with the stunning news that Mark Hurd was being removed as CEO. The cause was the announced falsification of expense reports in a sexual harassment case involving a very good-looking 50-year-old marketer by the name of Jodie Fisher.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703309704575413663370670900.html

There will be those who will criticize HP’s handling of this fire drill, and only time will tell how well they handled the damage. The Almost DailyBrett immediate take was the company was smart and SEC-compliant in immediately announcing the stunning development. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2010/100806a.html Included in that announcement was an update on the upcoming third quarter results on both a GAAP and non-GAAP (pro forma) basis as well as using the same metrics for the 2010 fiscal year. The first indication of the success of this strategy will be revealed in the first few hours of trading on Monday.

(Almost DailyBrett note: HPQ was taking a 7 percent hair cut around noon EDT on Monday…pretty much what you would expect).

The company announced that a very familiar name, company CFO Cathie Lesjak, would serve as interim CEO, even though she is not seeking the job on a full-time basis. A global search, including candidates both inside and outside HP, has commenced (no reason to introduce another Carly Fiorina into the mix).

Included in the strategy was Lesjak’s letter to employees, which she knew would be leaked in nanoseconds. The obvious purpose was not just to prop up morale and foster retention of the best and the brightest, but to reassure investors, including all of those employees with ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plans) and stock options.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704182304575416002591565396.html

“While this news is unexpected, HP remains in an exceptionally strong position both financially and in the marketplace,” she was quoted in the letter. “It is essential, however, that we remain focused and continue to achieve – if not exceed – our operational and financial objectives.

“…As we regularly remind all employees, each of us is expected to adhere strictly to the Standards of Business Conduct in all of our business dealings and relationships. This expectation applies with even greater force to HP’s CEO and other senior executives who, given their positions, must set the highest standard for professional and personal conduct. The investigation that was conducted revealed that Mark had failed to meet this standard.

(There is probably no better time in HP’s history to remind employees that the rules apply to everyone, including well compensated CEOs).

“We recognize that this change in leadership is unexpected news. We also know that HP’s success in recent years is due to the collective efforts and hard work of more than 300,000 talented employees who have formulated far-reaching strategies and achieved our objectives better than anyone else in the industry.

(Good time to work on retention in the face of a morale-impacting, confidence-shaking announcement)

“…In closing, I would like to thank each of you for your contributions to HP, and to ask that in the weeks and months to come we do everything to ensure that HP’s future, like its past, is one of innovation, operational excellence, and the delivery of world-class products and services.”

(Almost DailyBrett postscript: Ms. Jodie Fisher says ex-cathedra that her relationship with Mark Hurd was not sexual…and yet a sexual harassment claim and falsified expense reports. This one is difficult to believe.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/08/AR2010080800296.html?wpisrc=nl_headline

When it comes to the most influential target audiences for publicly traded companies, they can be essentially boiled down to the acronym “CEO”: Customers, Employees and Owners.

Company executives have long championed “serving customers” and “creating shareholder value” and they should continue as these two groups drive revenues and enhance market capitalization. Unfortunately the same level of enthusiasm is rarely afforded to a company’s number one asset, its employees.

One obvious reason is that the care and feeding of employees represents the lion’s share of the expense side of the ledger. These costs are not just salaries, but a growing array of benefits, incentives and government mandates (e.g. parental leave).

Despite this overall lack of attention on “E,” the nation is nonetheless transfixed on the stubborn 9.7 percent unemployment number, particularly that “only” 36,000 lost their jobs in February. The U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a total of 14.9 million unemployed; 8.8 million forced to work part-time out of economy necessity and 1.2 million discouraged workers, who don’t believe a job exists for them http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm Add it all up and we are talking about 25 million unhappy people in a nation of 300 million.

We should also keep in mind that DOL also reported that 138 million Americans are working. Many of these workers are saddled with lousy bosses or have limited upward mobility and feel trapped in their jobs because of the nearly double-digit unemployment and the lack of alternatives. This scenario seems to be gradually changing, which means that the “E” for employees could soon be receiving comparable executive attention, if not love, as the “C” for customers and the “O” for shareholders.

Failing to attract or losing the best and the brightest is extremely costly to companies. I have seen figures up to $60,000 to replace each management or high-talent employee, when search, training and lost productivity is included in the equation. For example, technology companies are particularly vulnerable to the potential loss of software and/or hardware engineers. Financial services firms rely on investment bankers, fiscal analysts, accountants and controllers with MBAs to demonstrate gravitas to clients.

So what should companies do in this shifting economic environment to provide for the proper care and feeding of their valuable employees?

● Don’t wait for “retention” to become a major problem; make it a priority right now. The recession is over and the choppy recovery has begun. This is the time to challenge your employees, add to their responsibilities, listen to their concerns, provide them with growth paths and let them know they are key players in the success of the company. Before going out and recruiting away employees from competitors, companies should be concerned about protecting their “base” employees from rival cherry pickers.

● Engage and over-communicate with employees, including using low-grade technology in the form of CEO all-hands meetings with PowerPoint graphics. The purpose is to not only share business strategies with employees, but to listen and hear their concerns as well. Use corporate intranets to publish stories, announcements and blogs about the company’s direction and accomplishments. Ditto for social media, encouraging employees to read about the company and its brand-building activities via Twitter, LinkedIn.com, Facebook and others.

● View Investor Relations, Corporate Public Relations and Employee Communications as being linked. A high percentage of employees in publicly traded companies, particularly technology and biotech, participate in ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plans) and stock option programs. They are very interested and savvy investors in the company’s stock and that contributes to market cap. Corporate positioning should be outward to investors, customers, suppliers, partners, analysts and media, and also inward to investing and contributing employees.

● Consider having Investor Relations, Corporate Public Relations and Employee Communications report to the Chief Financial Officer. In many cases Employee Communications reports to Human Resources, which used to make some sense, but becomes less so with even greater SEC scrutiny on fair-disclosure issues. Naturally, Employee Communications should interact regularly with HR, particularly on benefits, but the CFO holds more sway on investor issues, corporate development, strategic acquisitions/integration and the reasons behind restructurings and layoffs.

● Sweat the details when it comes to the “management style” of middle managers. Do they micromanage? Are they arrogant, unreceptive and simply fail to listen and hear legitimate concerns? Do they have their own agendas? Should they be managing people in the first place? Let’s face it; bad bosses will eventually erode morale and prompt more good people to run for the exits, particularly in an expanding economy creating new opportunities.

As both a physical and economic spring returns to the landscape, it is time to make the care and feeding of employees a major priority. Cherry picking is a growth industry. The best defense is a good offense. It’s time to make employee communications a priority.

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