Keeping Good People (updated edition)
by Roger E. Herman
Oakhill Press, 411 pages paperback, $21.95.

"Our biggest challenge in management today is to attract, optimize, and keep our good people," writes RogerHerman. Because of many trends, keeping good people is now often the most difficult of those.

Several decades ago, people forgot that goal of getting a gold watch at age sixty-five. When they saw one ofthe scarce opportunities for more training or more pay, they jumped at it.

Then came downsizing, the surge of layoffs, and with it the death of corporate loyalty.

As Generation X moved into the work force, it brought along a belief that employees, not their employers,were responsible for their own careers.

The Departures Begin

In the mid-1990s, as the economy heated up and applicants for jobs became scarcer, corporations saw thebeginning of a new trend. They wanted to hold their good people, those essential to the success of the firm.But those people were out the door when they saw new opportunities.

What can companies do to hold onto them? Here in this updated version of his book is Herman's answer.

Don't sit in your office thinking about the problem. Instead, get out among the employees, talk with them, andparticularly with those who you think may want to leave, and find out why. Make sure you learn the actualcauses, not just the symptoms.

Expect that some employees will leave, no matter what you do for them.

Get to understand the others. One group is dissatisfied, but its members will stay if they see they can achievetheir life objectives with you.

Another group wants permanent positions and will stay with you - at least for awhile.

And yet another group is made up of people doing excellent jobs and liking their work, but who could belured away by offers of promotion.

Time to Start

It's time to begin. What's the first step? Raises? Promising promotions?

No. Listen to those people you want to keep. Ask questions. Then listen some more to what they want to do.

Understand that all of them are competing for attention, favors, and opportunities.

You'll discover that positions are important to many. If two want the same position, decide what you can dofor the person who doesn't get it before you award it to someone else.

For others, status is important, or salaries, or opportunities to achieve, such as designing a new product.

Your goal is to respond to the wants and needs of each employee. Trying to satisfy all of them with oneapproach just won't work.

194 Strategies

This book explains specifically 194 practical, proven strategies you can use to reduce turnover. They rangefrom promoting integrity and creating desirable work areas to sticking up for your people and matching thecontributions to causes of your employees.

Read them and you'll get ideas for meeting the desires of your employees.

The author urges you to notice that these strategies are aimed at making people want to stay on the job. Theyalso should keep people productive.

The author closes with good advice: "No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to keep all your goodpeople." For a multitude of reasons, some will leave. "When it's time for people to leave, wish them goodluck and get out of their way. Begging on bended knee for someone to stay with you is not appropriate."

Copyright 1999 Executive Book Summaries.