Retention: The Holy Grail of HR and Recruiting


I think the concept of retention is overblown and childish. Yes, that’s right.

But hear me out. Retention is the trendy holy grail of recruiting & HR because it is an easy thing for everyone to understand and sell.

How many times have you heard, “If you buy my leadership program and management software, I can help you improve retention by X%.”

It’s bullshit.

The conversation we should be having is much more complex. Human Resources should be advocating for new & creative employee/employer relationships that are built around our specific organizations. If we want the best and the brightest people to work for us, let’s think differently about the nature of work in the 21st century.

  • We should create an employment structure that doesn’t burden the corporation & shareholders with benefit costs. In America, this means that we should welcome a public health care option and say goodbye to administering private insurance plans with rising premiums & bureaucratic rules.
  • We should protect our companies  from stupid litigation by reconsidering and revamping trade unions, associations, and managed staffing solutions. Let’s create a culture of accountability among employees, unions, and workers by rethinking what it means to be employed. Who’s the boss in the 21st century? Wake up. The boss is you. Get to work.
  • We ought to be creating robust & awesome ‘total rewards programs’ that incent our employees to achieve financial goals. Companies should then communicate the hell out of those programs. You retain great employees much the same way you share a video on YouTube: through viral word-of-mouth campaigns in your community.

So we can talk about retention in the 21st century, or we can talk about the things that matter: removing the burden of social programs from our corporations, implementing smart and flexible workplace policies so that merit-based performance plans apply to everyone from the janitor to the CEO, and treating our employees like adults.

What do you think?

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