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Why Retention Matters

If your organization bases its employee strategy on the age-old, "everyone is replaceable" theory, it's time to find a new model. Why? Because the percentage of existing workers nearing retirement age is booming (or baby booming, to be specific), and many new entrants to the labor pool lack basic employment skills. In other words, you'll soon be losing some of your most seasoned workers and replacing them with some of the greenest.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 2002-2012 period, the numbers of workers aged fifty-five or older will grow by half, a growth rate four times that of the general workforce. By 2012, one out of five workers will be fifty-five years old or older. As these workers cut back, or retire altogether, they'll take the wisdom of their job experience with them and leave a large hole in your knowledge base.

About half of the HR professionals who responded to a recent Society for Human Resource Managerment survey said they are seeing new workers entering the workforce lacking overall professionalism, written communication skills, analytical abilities, or business knowledge. Many of these workers come straight from earning their college degree, yet they lack the general social skills required to succeed in the workplace. So before you can teach them about your business, you'll need to teach them such behaviors as calling when they're going to be late or absent.

Susan Meisinger of SHRM says, "We know there will be millions of baby boomers retiring and that some workers now entering the workforce lack core competencies. These are serious HR and workforce issues that could undermine the nation's global competitiveness." Indeed, your organization's economic survival will depend on its ability to retain all the good employees it can.

Fact is, it's getting harder and harder to find quality workers, so retaining the good ones is becoming more critical than ever before. Leaders who believe their employees "have nowhere else to go," will soon find themselves wondering where everyone went. Understanding which values inspire your workers is the key to retention, and the foundation of values-based leadership.
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