Despite an economic slowdown and widespread layoffs, employee retention remains a critical issue for many companies as theystruggle to maintain a competitive edge.

That was one of the key findings of Talent Management in a Rapidly Changing Economy, a new report based on the findingsof the first annual " Retention Convention," sponsored by retention consulting firm Career Systems International of Scranton,Pennsylvania and by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, co-authors of a book about retention, Love' Em or Lose' Em:Getting Good People to Stay (Berrett-Koehler, 1999).

Human Resource managers and corporate recruiters from a dozen global Fortune 500 companies attended the conference. Itwas held to present the state of the art in retention initiatives, offer a forum for exchanging information about retention efforts, reviewapproaches to developing retention cultures within companies, and establish benchmarks for successful retention solutions.

" Even as we hear daily about layoffs, we also are hearing about jobs going begging," Kaye says. " In many cases, companies thatare downsizing are simultaneously looking for people for strategic but hard-to-fill slots. So retention continues to be a critical issue."

Talent retention and development are being elevated to top-tier objectives at many companies, on a par with generating revenuesand managing costs. Some companies have even established the position of " Executive Champion" to lead retention initiatives.

The report presents the Retention Convention finding that as the critical role individual managers play in the retention processbecomes clear, many companies have developed formal programs to hold managers accountable for talent management, evaluatingand compensating them based on their ability to retain talent.

Some of the benchmark initiatives that participants identified and which are described in the report are:

  • Stepped up recruiting efforts both to attract the most talented applicants and to present their company as the " Employer of Choice" in their industry.
  • A redesign of orientation programs to make them the beginning of an ongoing retention process for each new employee.
  • " Re-recruiting" of their existing talent, to keep their teams engaged and to better match skills to opportunities within their organization.
  • Coaching managers on retention and development to improve their success in the critical role they hold in the retention process.

Copyright © Kennedy Information LLC, 800-521-0007. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction prohibited by law.