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Retaining employees is a priority for business executives; they just don't know how to go about it. That's the verdict from an employee-turnover study released last month by retention specialists TalentKeepers. Ninety percent of the 391 U.S. companies that TalentKeepers surveyed said employee retention was important to achieving their business goals. However, 89 percent stated that their leaders are minimally or only moderately skilled at keeping workers.

Alarmingly, although these companies acknowledge that turnover rates in this country are climbing--91 percent said turnover in their companies got worse or remained stubbornly high in 2005--few seem to be equipping their leaders with the skills needed to retain employees. Instead, many seem to be crossing their fingers and hoping that the problem goes away on its own. What else could explain that while 44 percent expect turnover to worsen in their respective industries this year, one-out-of-five foresees it actually improving at their companies?

According to Fredric Frank, CEO of TalentKeepers, managers may need a wakeup call. "With rising as a strategic business issue, accountability for retention among senior executives also will grow." In other words, top managers who resist making employee retention a top training focus will not only have a hard time meeting their business objectives, but they'll likely struggle to keep their own jobs as well.
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