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Love ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em:
Getting Good People To Stay

by Beverly L. Kaye, Sharon Jordan-Evans
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 269 pages, $20.95

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Retention is an often overlooked workplace issue, but smart managers realize that an unhappy employee who walks out the door can cost up to 200 percent of their annual salary to replace. The fear of top performers leaving is a very real one and engaging and keeping good people is worth the time and effort. Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em introduces managers to 26 A-Z strategies to engage and retain your best and brightest.

According to the authors, “Finding out what your employees really want is the key to keeping them happy.” Sometimes managers fear asking because they think people will ask for more pay or for a promotion. If this happens, they advise to keep the dialogue going and indicate you will look into the possibility. The important thing is to ask because asking makes talented people feel valued. Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em includes a revealing list of the top five reasons why people stay in a position:

  1. Exciting Work and Challenge
  2. Career Growth, Learning and Development
  3. Working With Great People
  4. Fair Pay
  5. Supportive Management/Good Boss

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em features a valuable Alas section that recounts incidents of managers grappling with how to keep employees happy. The authors cite a study that found that 50% of work satisfaction is determined by the relationship a worker has with their immediate boss. “A boss needs to determine and publicly recognize a good worker’s talents and ultimate ambitions,” writes Kaye. Together they can co-design an action plan that will keep the employee engaged and reassure the boss that a talented worker will stick around.

Other good strategies outlined here include a section on how to combat workplace boredom, a major cause of turnover. Enriching a position requires managers to stay alert and to create new challenges that keep bright employees interested and on their toes. Being flexible and supportive of family issues is another tip that shows individuals you value them. Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em concludes by pointing out that it’s a myth that professionalism and fun are incompatible. The best managers are able to keep a work environment loose and comfortable enough for professionals to enjoy themselves while they do good work. This is the kind of workplace people don’t want to leave.

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