Will They Stay or Will They Go?

“You cheated! You lied! You said that you loved me!” The Shangri-Las

“You cheated! You lied! You said that you loved me!” The Shangri-Las


If your Company was proactive during the last 2 years, most of “The Others” (Employees who should never have been hired in the first place), the “Temporary Employees” (Employees who had the potential to become Core Employees) and some of the Core Employees (Employees who can take the Company to the next level of productivity & profitability) are gone. At this point in the slow growth economy, you definitely don’t want to lose any more of your talent, so you need to determine whether your Core Employees are thinking about leaving and, if so, what you can do to stop them.

One point of view, expressed in the 2010 Global Workforce Study, is that Employees are more committed to their Employer because they want workplace job security and stability above all else. Some of the Study’s findings to support this viewpoint are:

81% of respondents said they are not actively looking for another job.

84% believe there will not be any positive near change in the job market.

• 86% stated a “secure and stable position” was the most important job item.

Another point of view is that Employees are so unhappy with their current jobs, there will a mass exodus once the market stabilize. In support of this view, in February the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of Employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008.


So which viewpoint is right? In my opinion, Employees are committed to finding a new job within the next 12 months because:

Core Employees know The Truth & they are not happy: The title of The Shangri-Las song at the top of this page reflects how Employees feel because of their treatment over the last 20 months. The deep layoffs, drastic wage/benefit reductions and increased workload (by some estimates 8 out of 10 employees workload has increased) eliminated any hope that Employers would/could protect Core Employees from the downside of the WorkQuake™. Core Employees now know their Employer views them as expendable. This harsh realization has made Core Employees angry, disillusioned and distrustful of their Employers–and ready to leave.

Low Loyalty: 2009 survey says: 60% of Employees will leave their current job when a better job opportunity presents itself.

More jobs & Employees are not as afraid: There are more job opportunities as Companies begin to hire to accommodate an increase in business. This increase in hiring is eliminating the “fear factor” that inhibited Employees from switching jobs during the last 2 years.

Employees are disengaged: According to a 2009 Conference Board survey, only 51% of Employees are engaged in their work.

Employees are not happy with their wages: According to the same 2009 Conference Board survey, only 35% of Employees are satisfied with their wages.


But even if I’m right and a chunk of your Core Employees are getting ready to walk out your door, why should you worry about turnover when there is a huge reservoir of Employees (8.5 million) looking for work? Two reasons:

1. The loss of Core Employees will devastate your Company’s future: Your Core Employees are the good performers, your talent, your bench strength – the ones who can take the Company to the next level. They will not be easy to replace and, in some instances, may be irreplaceable. And they are going to go to work for your competition. Do you really want your best and brightest working for an organization that is trying to put you out of business?

2. The cost of replacing a Core Employee: It typically costs half of the position’s annual salary to recruit a replacement for a Core Employee’s position. And then, if they really turn out to be a good cultural fit (every new hire, how carefully vetted, is still an unknown quality until they are in the trenches with your team and producing), and there is the ramp up period (at least 90 days) before they actually become productive. Can you really afford the cost of replacing your Core Employees?

The Bottom Line: So, if you believe your Core Employees are even humming “You cheated! You lied! You said that you loved me!” or may be thinking about “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” then what are you going to do about it? The answers will be in the next Bottom Line.

Paul Glover Go to for more information about Employee Retention in the Time of the WorkQuake™.