by | Dec 1, 2021 | Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Podcasts | 0 comments

With the pandemic continuing to rage, many employers still have their feet firmly cemented in tired and ineffective business models and ways of thinking. Throwing more people, money, and resources won’t help because the rules of engagement have changed. Look no further than the recent report from McKinsey suggests that 40% of employees are projected to quit their current positions in the next 3 to 6 months without another offer to fall back on. Innovative and fresh new ways of strategizing and approaching recruitment and retention strategies must be top of mind. This week we welcome Cara Silletto, author of Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer and president of Magnet Culture, to expose the growing and perplexing problem of recruitment, hiring, and retention.

Putting Everything on the T.A.B.L.E.

Resignations have always been a problem in the workplace, but they never posed such an enormous risk to organizations as they do today, Silletto says. Where change slowly progressed through the workforce of the 1960s and 1970s, the convergence of disruptive technology and a global pandemic have accelerated change. From daily events, such as virtual meetings to rampant employee resignations, to a gaping shift in generational thinking, danger lies ahead for leaders expecting “this too will run its course.”

Silletto captures this gap in what she calls T.A.B.L.E. thinking:

With the advances in technology, change is so fast reality blurs with science fiction. Nothing seems to be off limits: recruitment strategies,  communication, basic job tasks. But not everyone is on board.

America was once a hierarchical job market . This is no longer the case. Many workplaces now have a more egalitarian approach, placing cooperation over blind authority.

This refers to a work-life balance that more and more businesses are fighting to handle. With a growing population of single parents, divorced couples, blended families, or single workers who have outside-of-work interests, employers must adapt a flexible schedule in order to recruit more

As Silletto said, many workers feel stuck with difficult or toxic jobs because “it was loyalty for loyalty’s sake.” Today, the curtain has been pulled back and employees understand that not all companies have their best interests in mind. For much of the 20th Century, job security was a thing. But emerging in the late 1970s mass layoffs and terminations have been so common that workers accept them as a normal sequence of employment.

Given the advances in technology, people nowadays expect immediate access and response to opportunities and benefits, whereas prior generations didn’t expect or feel they deserved attention from their employers for years down the road.

Much of the generational difference in thinking is between the Baby Boomer and Millennial Generations. Boomers believe that most of the younger generation doesn’t want to work. Many business owners and managers across a swath of industries share this mindset. Silletto spoke about one client who refused to acknowledge that Millennials didn’t want to work 60-hour weeks simply because they didn’t want to work hard. That wasn’t true – young drivers were willing to work hard but not 60 hours every week. Silletto revealed that it wasn’t a lack of good workers but a business model started 50 years ago for a generation of retiring workers. The problem wasn’t low work ethic but too few trucks. By purchasing more trucks, he opened an opportunity to work just 40 hours, fulfill orders, cut overtime, and fill all the positions. 

Turning Over Turnover Rates

In some workplaces, high turnover is unavoidable, such as call centers or retail jobs. Part of this stems from the perpetual change and fast pace of the modern job market. Today the problem is compounded by the short shelf-life of job skills. Many skills are now exhausted after only five years (and technology skills are estimated to last only two and a half years). A recent study from Australia predicts that the upcoming generation will work approximately 17 jobs across five different industries, which is a drastically different work environment compared to older generations that got by with a high school diploma and a lifetime career. Silletto says, employers need to focus on not eliminating turnover altogether but rather simply reducing it a little each year by operationalizing the process. This means budgeting for a large number of new hires and maximizing the productivity from each person rather than spending weeks training employees only for them to resign two days later.

Geeks Geezers Googlization host Ira Wolfe shared his experience with a client that hired nearly 500 people for 60 jobs per year. Rather than forcing a complete remodel of their entire business plan, Ira focused efforts on retaining employees for an extra week, then once achieved another week. The result? Rather than hiring 490 people per year, significantly reducing the churn and cutting 40 weekly training sessions down to 10 per year.

Magnetic Management

Recently, many managers have been swamped with so much work that they don’t have time to manage people. They are asked to do so much more with even less assistance, such as organizing a remote workspace with little to no direction. Good business management requires employees to have access to their boss, to be heard, to maintain schedules that flex with worker needs, and to ensure every employee in the company understands their role and their value. 

Silletto outlines her solution and framework for businesses who are experiencing heavy resignations and overall struggles within the business: M.A.G.N.E.T.

Instead of asking managers to complete product work, let them manage their teams!

Make your company attractive to potential employees. This means using technology, such as applicant tracking software, in a people-centric way.

Many new hires struggle with settling into the workplace, so be sure to focus on onboarding with clear directions and expectations.

Despite previous management beliefs that people live to work, today’s employees work to live. They have a life outside of work, and those lives have many moving pieces that may require alternative scheduling or shorter shifts.

Rather than pointing fingers to place unnecessary blame, Silletto encourages employees and managers to accept difficult situations and confront them head-on.

Employees cannot read the minds of employers, no matter how desirable that quality is. In order to create the best work environment possible, employers must be honest and transparent with their expectations in the workplace.

The pandemic has shaken many of us, including business owners. That doesn’t mean employers are forced to pick up the pieces but identify new opportunities to flex and adapt, to reimagine their future of work. opening doors for many previously unavailable job candidates and under-appreciated and under-utilized workers.


 “Retention was a problem, but it wasn’t the squeakiest wheel. And now it’s a super squeaky wheel, in fact it’s flat.” (9:10)

“Work/life balance used to mean you leave your personal crap at home.” (13:27)

“In the past, if your wife wasn’t working, you wanted overtime because that was the greatest contribution of the husband was to bring home more money. …Now things have flipped and it’s the opposite. A working mom does not want her husband working overtime.” (19:22)

“Employers must now operationalize their turnover” (26:02)

“There is no app to adapt, yet.” (33:56)

“First things first – leaders must stop making assumptions.” (34:52)

“When we talk to people about 30, 60, 90-day turnover, if we can keep them six months [then] that doubles or triples the length of tenure.” (38:22)

 “The problem comes back to the managers [who]  haven’t yet been given the tools to be successful as a manager of remote workers.” (43:10)


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