« Incentives, HUH ... What Are They Good For? | Main | 2010 Salaries: Guarded Optimism, Increased Differentiation... & a New Normal? »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ann, your thoughts on this question. Will the "churn" in businesses ultimately be good for productivity and profitability in the long run? People will be out doing what they want to do as opposed to what they think they need to do, so does that mean they will be happier and subsequently more productive? Will companies as a result be more profitable? Or will this churn be so large that utimately it will be destructive?


Thanks for the comment and question.

I don't see this churn as an "across the board" thing. I think there will be winners and there will be losers. Those employers who have irreparably damaged their employment brand as a result of actions taken during the recession will eventually pay the price. They will suffer a net loss of top talent and other employers will be able to achieve a net gain. Ultimately, I think this will impact which organizations thrive going forward and which ones shrink or disintegrate.

That's my take, anyway. Yours?

Excellent post. I have been thinking about Hertberg's Motivation Hygiene theory lately and how it might apply to our current environment. Can we hypothesize that employees are motivated to leave primarily because they are dissatisfied with basic benefits, pay, job security and the like? And if that is the case, then it does not do much good to work on the factors that build satisfaction, such as job enhancement. We can interject all the meaning in the world, but employees have a threshold that they reach with respect to dissatisfaction factors, and once reached, they are motivated to correct by going elsewhere.

It'll be an interesting shake out for sure, if nearly 2/3 of businesses (extrapolating from 60% employees planning to leave) are as poor in terms of employee commitment as the place employees are leaving. And presumably the remaining 'good' third won't be hiring as much because their people aren't leaving. So we could just see a shift of disatisfied employees from one poor TM company to another. Still, change can be good - once companies that haven't invested in retention wake up to the turnover costs we may see some changes. It'll be high times for recruiters, in any event!

Great post, Ann. You and Margaret are correct in that it’s not realistic to expect employee satisfaction to be high, but that should hold steady across the board. The economy has hit all organizations. But as employees start migrating in 2010, it’ll be an indicator of which organizations really put added stock into enhancing their employee brand, communication, etc. to help mitigate the elimination of monetary incentives during the tough times. If employers did it right, not only will they be able to retain their talent, but they’ll be the ones disgruntled workers come running to.

Adam Lawrence, Blogger at The Seamless Workforce

Some additional thoughts: http://blog.yoh.com/2009/11/four-ways-to-prepare-for-2010-employee.html

The thing I really worry about, from an overall business perspective, is the bottom line impact of employees being at odds with their leaders. Especially since jobs are not going to really pick up until this time next year. We will have many things to juggle once the churn starts, but right now I hope that execs are facing facts and planning to put a personal effort into improving communications (and therefore relationships) within the company. They're still in it together, and all of the past themes of bringing the brand inside, demonstrating company values, etc. seem purely opportunistic and somewhat hollow if they can't ride out these tough times.

On the up side, communications don't have to be costly to be effective. It's time to work on those relationships, and the payoff will be quite valuable.


Interesting hypothesis. I am inclined to turn Maslow on his head and argue the opposite - that the basic pay, benefits and security are in bad shape at most employers, and what differentiates them is whether they have addressed this situation in a manner that inspires trust.


Maybe the "good" third will be hiring more quickly because their engaged and motivated employees are driving the business forward more quickly? I am betting that good talent management is one of the things that will separate the "men from the boys", so to speak, as the economy recovers.


I agree that investments in that employee brand will eventually pay off. Thanks for the link to your additional discussion points.


You're right - it does ultimately come down to relationships. And I like your point that communications don't have to be costly to be effective.

Thanks, everyone, for the thoughts and comments here!

You can buy a lot of retention with motivational factors, but there is a limit. Fred Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory didn't invert Abe Maslow's Pyramid as much as refine it to clarify that the lower levels don't make you happy but are minimum threshold requirements (satisfiers at best), while the higher levels alone are motivators that drive behavior. Thus, to STOP people from doing something (like working for you), you can cut their pay so much it becomes unbearable (unsurvivable) despite all the wonderful higher-order psychological incentives. But folks very rarely start seeking a different job because of pay or benefits, because those other higher true motivational factors keep them engaged... to a certain extent. Fall below that minimum threshold, and both Abe and Fred agree you will then see them start seeking that ubiquitous "better title with more pay and more opportunity" that they never would have sought before.

Basic problem with posting survey results: how was the sample selected. Since Right primarily offers outplacement, my initial thought was that the sample of 904 people contacted may have been from RM's client group. If so, then I would wager that their "negative" pump was already primed. In this day and age, survivors' guilt leads to feelings of anti-loyalty.

Even more, people always have talked great games about leaving but have never actually pulled the trigger. So another question comes to mind: Are the numbers significantly different from previous surveys taking into account seasonal issues?

Engagement is a beautiful thing that resonates with our compassionate sides but we all know that success and happiness do not have to occur in tandem...


I agree - the higher order incentives are very powerful, but they can rarely overcome the lower-order satisfiers being cut too deeply. At the end of the day, we all have bills to pay.


Very good points - and I don't have this data historically to look at how it has trended over time. But I think high levels of "anti-loyalty" are problematic, whether people actually pull the trigger or not. I also agree with (and have posted before on) your point on engagement - we do have to be careful about equating happiness to productivity and performance.

Thanks for adding to the discussion!

The comments to this entry are closed.

About The Author

  • More Info Here
    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

Compensation Force Spot Survey

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search This Site


  • Get this widget from Widgetbox