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Is employee retention a moot point in today's business climate?

The September 2020 unemployment rate is 7.9% (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and an additional 7.2 million adults want to work but cannot right now, i.e. kids at home. You, as an employer, may be forgiven for feeling complacent about retaining employees.

You have tons of other problems to deal with right now.

Let's see, sales, cash-flow, effects of COVID-19 on everything, including how you see clients and what staffing you need. I get it. When you own your own business there are always demands on your time and priorities that pull you in different directions.

Your business is a life raft.

Who is with you on your life raft?

Some other reasons a retention strategy is worth your time:

  1. Turnover costs money.

  2. Chronic understaffing exhausts your best employees.

  3. Chronic understaffing reduces customer satisfaction and will affect sales.

  4. It costs less to retain employees than to hire and train new people.

Turnover costs money.

Creating and running ads, reviewing resumes, interviewing people, ordering background checks, onboarding people, training them. Easy right? How much does that cost? What is the opportunity cost of that activity vs. other things you could be doing?

Chronic understaffing exhausts your best employees.

How long does it take to go from exhaustion to burnout? Who is going to quit next?

Chronic understaffing depresses sales, even now.

A few years ago, I was attending a conference. I arrived at the hotel at around 6pm and was greeted with a long line at registration. There was one employee working the front desk at this large property. It took over an hour for me to get my key. Later, when I needed to change rooms, I had to move my own things. I checked out and moved to another hotel the next day, rather than deal with the chronic understaffing at that property.

While many customers will give you a pass, understanding that things are difficult for everyone, some will not. The pandemic has been going on for over six months and there is some expectation out there that by now, the businesses who are open, have a certain number of things figured out. How do you feel when your online order is messed up? Do you say, "Well, things are messed up everywhere, I'll let it slide." or do you try to sort it out and think twice about where to place your next order?

Understaffing is not a strategic advantage I have to suffer with as a customer. It is true that some companies have such a competitive advantage that they do not have to worry about individual customers. Are you truly in that category?

It costs less to retain employees than to hire and train new people.

It is generally true that you save money by keeping your good employees, even if you have to pay them a bit more or give them some benefit. Exceptions to this include, not being able to afford the pay rate they want, the person is not a good fit for your organization, or trust has been lost.

If you are tired of going it alone with your human resources and would like an experienced hand to help, contact me directly at

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