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Tag Archives: employee retention

Focus on employee retention by invoking Price’s Law

Have you heard of Price’s Law? It may improve your employee retention?

employee retentionDerek Price was a British physicist who is credited with identifying the mathematical relationship between (1) literature on a specific subject, and (2) the number of authors in the subject area.  Price’s square root law (or simply Price’s Law) states that half of the publications in a subject area come from the square root of all contributors. So, if 100 papers are written by 25 authors, five of those 25 will have contributed 50 of those 100 papers.  Price’s Law is obviously related to academic research and reporting, but I have observed an interesting parallel in the world of work.

Price’s Law at work

Repeatedly, in organizations, I have noticed that there seems to be a small number of people who seem to get the most work done.  If I may go as far as invoking Price’s Law – half the work is done by the square root of the total number of employees in that department or division.  So if the sales team has 10 people, half the revenue seems to come from three people in the group.  If the first-line tech support team has 15 people, four people seem to respond to and close about half the support tickets.  What if you have an organization of 100 people – do 10 of them get half the work done, and the other 90 the remaining half?  That’s a scary thought!  Now I know that Price’s Law doesn’t exactly compute in every situation, but my point is that this ratio generally applies – which is, a handful of people get the most work done. Continue reading

Five strategies for employee retention

Employee retention is an issue that should be top of mind for leaders everywhere.  Sure, depending on your industry or market sector, employee turnover may be a fact of life, but have you ever noticed that when employees leave, it’s never the lousy ones that jump ship?  The unfortunate reality is that the ones who are most likely to leave are the ones that are in greatest demand elsewhere.  And of course, those are usually your best and your brightest, the ones that you really want to keep!

What are you doing?

So what are you doing for employee retention?  What actions are you taking to ensure that your top employees want to stay in your organization? What are you doing to engage them so that your company is their employer of choice?  If the answer is “nothing”, then you’re putting yourself at a serious competitive advantage.  Because you can bet that those who are departing are going right over to organizations who have taken concrete steps to entice and engage them.  In my latest column for The Globe and Mail, published this morning, I lay out five proven ideas to stop your finest from fleeing to what they see as greener pastures.

Five strategies to help ensure top performers don’t jump ship

If you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find this article on page B13.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link:

So I’m well aware that this subject usually seems to get people riled up, primarily because of my assertion that the answer to employee retention and engagement is not “money”.  But, as always, even if you don’t agree with me, I’m interested in your perspective and your experiences.  So please share by adding your comments below.

Maximize introvert power by tapping into their strengths

Extroversion versus introversion.  Despite numerous studies and anecdotal situations that show otherwise, people still continue to assume that somehow extroverts are more successful in the workplace than introverts.  As I have blogged about in the past, that is simply not true.  Introvert power comes from tapping into what makes introverts different from extroverts, and not by taking on more extrovert traits.  In fact, in the past I have blogged about how introverts lead, and how introverts network.

Which is why I was delighted when my professional colleague Dave Byrnes agreed to guest on the blog today.  Dave is known as The Introverted Networker, and not surprisingly, he helps introverts use sales and networking to succeed in their business and careers.  Today he writes about how leaders (extroverts or introverts) can help their introverted employees maximize their introvert power and productivity.

Convert Your Introverts for Greater Productivity

There has been a lot of press about the power of introverts and their differences from extroverts in recent times. While better understanding is great as a leader, you may be asking yourself how this affects the bottom line.

How can you turn these insights into increased productivity from your introverts and improve job satisfaction so they stick around longer? Continue reading

Building loyalty among your Millennial employees

Millennial employeesLast fall, as part of my regular column series for The Globe and Mail, I wrote a piece titled Is workplace loyalty dead in the age of the millennial?  This is a topic that is close to the hearts of many, so I was not surprised when it got a lot of reaction, both positive and negative.  About the same, time, the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) asked me if I would pen a similar article for their members, one that directly addressed the acute staffing shortages and challenges they face in their industry.  The average age of those in the construction industry in British Columbia (well actually almost everywhere else in Canada too) is rising, and the industry is struggling with how to attract young workers into their companies.  The article I wrote was recently published in Build Magazine, the association’s annual flagship publication.

Building loyalty among your Millennial employees: Why you need to change – not them

Take a few moments to peruse other articles in this excellent magazine

The above link takes you directly to a copy of the article.  But you can also access the entire magazine at VICA’s website here:  My column is on page 38, but there are many other articles you may find of interest.

Well, as always, I would love to hear what you think?  As I’ve said before, most people have an opinion on this subject of Millennial employees, either positive or negative (not a lot of fence-sitters on this topic), and I’d love to hear yours.  Please share your perspectives below.

Is workplace loyalty dead in the age of the millennial?

As workplace demographics shift, with the boomer and the generation-Xer increasingly leaving the work force and the millennial entering, the common belief is that employees are no longer loyal to their employers. Young people are regularly maligned for being self-absorbed and entitled; not willing to “pay their dues”; and impatient to get the promotions and compensation they feel they deserve. As a result, the unfortunate, widely held sentiment is they cannot be counted on to stick around for the long haul, nor ever be loyal to a company.  But this point of view is flawed.  And my latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s weekend Management series focuses on why.


The reality is that workplace loyalty is not dead.  However, “loyalty” has a different meaning than it might have had 20 or even 10 years ago.  You can read Is workplace loyalty dead in the age of the millennial? here.  In this column, I offer three proven ideas to successfully attract and keep employees in this new age of loyalty.

As always, I’d love to hear your point of view.  What has been your experience?  And please, pass the link on to others in your departments and organizations who may find it of interest.  When we all dialogue about this subject, we are on our way to finding sustainable and effective solutions.  Please comment directly at The Globe’s site, or post your response right here on the blog.

Sometimes, The Globe puts my columns behind their paywall. If that happens and you are unable to access the article directly through the link above, you can read a pdf version at this link.

High employee turnover? It’s not usually about compensation

Often in my practice, I come across managers struggling with high employee turnover who believe that the most effective way to stop their top employees from walking out the door (and going to the competition) is to increase their salaries.  Now don’t get me wrong, you can’t underpay people (you have to give them what is considered reasonable for that specific job in your geography), but once they’re paid a salary that they consider fair, throwing more money at them is not going to keep them.  In fact, the research shows that money is not the driver for why people quit their jobs.  The two top reasons people resign – because they are tired of dealing with what they perceive to be a high level of bureaucracy and/or because their immediate manager is a lousy leader.  And for the record, money doesn’t even make the top three (salary makes the list at #5).

So what does this mean for a leader who’s facing high employee turnover and is concerned about losing his/her best people?  Continue reading

How to keep your best people? Support work-life balance

For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing a series of blog posts on what leaders can do to stop their best people from walking out the door. Here’s one final idea in this series – support work-life balance.

WorkLifeBalanceWhen organizations and their leaders support work-life balance, what they’re really doing is recognizing that employees have important family and extraprofessional obligations that compete with their workplace commitments.   Whether it is dependent care leave, childcare subsidies, eldercare programs, counseling and referral, or flexible working hours, these values allow people to strike a more meaningful and potentially less stressful balance between obligations at the workplace and obligations at home. And this matters! Companies that support and truly live and breathe work-life balance deeply engage their employees. In fact, the research has shown that employees will accept slightly lower than average salaries in order to achieve work-life balance! Continue reading

How to keep your best people? – create a fun workplace filled with laughter

Cheerful colleagues around laptop working together in bright offContinuing with our series on how to stop your best people from walking on the door, today’s suggestion is to create a fun workplace filled with laughter. The research shows that there is a direct correlation between workplace fun, productivity and employee retention. People who have fun at work want to come to work and want to stay at work. So as a leader, consciously plan to create opportunities for fun. When things get busy, fun falls by the wayside, so it’s important to keep it front and centre in your mind. When you look at the research as to what constitutes “fun”, (not surprisingly perhaps) food tends to top the list. Whether it’s going out for a meal; having a potluck lunch or dinner; celebrating employees’ birthdays by bringing in cake and ice cream; bringing in pizza, sandwiches or donuts, the research shows that culinary delights are clearly a way that people have fun and bond together. But it is more than just food that makes the top ten fun list! Fun contests, events and outings also rank high. Continue reading

How to keep your best people? Open the lines of communication

bigstock-Two-People-Having-A-Conversati-43044697Last week I started the second wave of a series of blog posts on what it takes to stop your best people from jumping ship. Today’s suggestion: open the lines of communication. By that I mean two-way communication, a dialogue, frequent conversations, easy and fluid movement of information in both directions. Communication must be a two-way street because by definition, it needs to include listening and speaking, ideally 50% of each.

So actively solicit input and listen to what your people have to say. Nobody knows what’s going on (and how to fix it) better than those who are doing it. Continue reading

How to keep your best people? Get to know them personally

In October, I started a short series on the blog on specific things that leaders can do to keep their best people from walking out the door. My posts on giving sincere praise often, buffering staff from bureaucracy, and paying people fairly were well received, so I thought it would be worthwhile adding to this list. So today, and for the next three posts, I am going to offer up four more ideas to prevent your top-notch employees from jumping ship and heading over to the competition. Today’s suggestion: get to know your people personally.

CoffeeMeetingNow I’m not proposing that you should become best friends with your staff, but I am suggesting that you should get to know them at more than just a superficial level. Who are your employees … really? What drives and motivates them, what makes them get up in the morning and excites them about coming to work? What are their goals and aspirations, what is the legacy they want to leave? Continue reading