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Employee retention: Fact or fiction?

May 1, 2010
by Bernie Reifkind
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Fiction: Money and security are the most important reasons that people change jobs.

Fact: The most important reason that people stay or leave is their boss. Are you providing an awesome place to work?

Fiction: Employers should have a policy of fairness and should treat every employee the same way.Fact: Every employee is a dynamic individual and is motivated by tangible and intangible factors. Your job is to find their “hot buttons.” Some people respond with honey, others need vinegar.

Fiction: With regard to an organization: A rule is a rule and we all must follow it.Fact: Sometimes rules are outdated and can hinder true creativity. At times we must break through the “tried and true” to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Do you maintain rules that are stale?

Fiction: The goal for employees is lifetime employment.Fact: Lifetime employment is over. The average career will likely encompass two or three “occupations” and a half-dozen or more employers. Hold on to your superstars.

Fiction: Job mastery is essential to job performance.Fact: We live in a world of ambiguity and change. We need to thrive in ambiguity and master “the dance” of job requirements and job politics.

Fiction: Employee talent is easy to recognize. You either “have it” or you don't.Fact: Sometimes employee talent is there and you can't see it. Some things to look for in discovering talent: passion, an ability to inspire, loves action, thrives under pressure, emanates fun, creativity, and knows how to finish the job.

Fiction: Employees should be happy that they have a job.Fact: The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated. Does your staff know how much you appreciate them?

Fiction: The way to create leaders is by training after company seniority and loyalty.Fact: If you have someone great, put them in charge and let them lead. Leading is not about age. It's about talent. Don't make a superstar “wait their turn.”

Bernie Reifkind is CEO and founder of Premier Search (

http://www.psihealth.com), a healthcare executive search firm in Los Angeles. He can be reached by e-mail at

bernie@psihealth.com or (800) 801-1400.

To send your comments to the editor, please e-mail mhrehocik@vendomegrp.com.

Long-Term Living 2010 May;59(5):52

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