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Can't Get No... Satisfaction

November 4, 2010
by Tim Tolan
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Low employee satisfaction levels coupled with economic expansion can be a lose-lose for employers
Execunet's most recent report on executive job satisfaction should be a real wake-up call for organizations without a detailed retention strategy. During this crazy economic downturn, we’ve seen firsthand how companies have asked employees at all levels to take on multiple jobs, refusing to replace openings when other team members have left in order to shore up the bottom line. Now that the market is opening up a bit, the tides will be shifting and some of the decisions made over the past 24-30 months…well, let’s just say they may come back to haunt the employer, as workers at all levels (see table below) explore options outside their current company.

Executives rate job satisfaction, engagement

Source: 2010 ExecuNet/Finnegan Mackenzie Executive Retention Report

 
Here’s the dilemma – the market indicators predict high (hyper) growth, and even now the demand for talent in our sector has never been stronger. Added to the data in the graph above, it’s clear we have some very unhappy campers! If I could give employers one piece of advice, it would be to make sure there's a detailed retention plan in place to keep the ‘A' players fully engaged – and happy. Now is the time to evaluate their workloads, quality of work/life balance, and yes – their compensation. Spend time with each one and let them know how important they are to the success of the organization. Many employers scaled back or eliminated merit and performance-based bonuses over the last couple of years, and while that made the PandL look better, it didn't feel good to the employee who felt it on the other end.

Recognition is often overlooked by employers and now would be a really great time to pause and thank your 'A-Team' for a job well done. Listen to their concerns and watch out for early signs of potential flight risk - think about the lost opportunity cost of having to replace their skill and value to your team. It’s probably far greater than you might think.

Our phones are ringing off the hook now that companies are finally beginning to hire again. That's (very) good news if you can locate and attract great talent to help you scale your organization, but could also be (very) bad news if the talent they recruit comes directly from your organization. So many candidates that contact our firm are sick and tired of the way they are being treated and can’t wait to leave as soon as they find a new home. Don’t let your great people leave - they'll likely be (very) very hard to replace in the short-term.

Just one man’s opinion.

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Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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