Retention and Recruiting In A Tight Labor Market

By: Mike Previte- Human Resources Program Director- WCTC

In her article about the talent market, writer Anna Grace Nimke says that “we are approaching a time when the number of new entrants to the workforce (age 18-64) will be the lowest on record since the boom of baby boomers..” in the late 1940s, 50s and early 60s. Because this will create a need to adapt to this shortage of workers, it will “at least require a reallocation of resources”, in this case, an outstanding and industry competitive retention strategy!

She goes on to say that “there are some organizations that are ready…They believe the more satisfied and engaged their workforce is, the more successful they will be.” This was never more evident in the Western Electric-Bell Labs world of Lucent Technologies in 1996.

Lucent, under the leadership of Henry Schacht, who was brought in to oversee its transition from an arm of AT&T into an independent corporation (Wikipedia),  developed a winning formula for retention and outstanding customer service.  In fact, their first year of existence, Lucent won the Malcolm Baldridge Award for Quality.  How did they do it? A simple formula that read “Employee Satisfaction leads to Customer Satisfaction leads to Profitability and Shareholder Value!”

So it starts with the employees. How do you retain the good ones in such a competitive manufacturing state?  Nimke says it is done in “ a workplace that:

  • Acknowledges employees as the true assets
  • Rewards his or her contributions appropriately
  • Celebrates success
  • Treats applicants and candidates as well as it treats its customers.”

Especially in a tight labor market, executives must be ever-mindful about their reputations as employers, according to Sara Meaney, managing director at BVK, a Milwaukee-based brand development agency.

We as HR Managers must remember that the ROI on retention is positive.  The opposite is true for turnover. What would cause employees to be engaged in your company??


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