Have You Built Your Retention Firewall?

Have You Built Your Retention Firewall?Posted by Robin Erickson on March 23, 2012

Your company is likely protected by a firewall to keep cyber-intruders out of your IT systems and private or proprietary data in. Firewalls like these often include multiple levels and layers of protection throughout the IT network (e.g., gateway, server, client) that are integrated to work together—a sort of deadbolt + guard dog + alarm system approach to security.

This firewall concept is also an apt way to think about protecting what many consider to be your company’s most valuable asset—its talent. With relatively high unemployment and low voluntary turnover, it might be tempting to put employee retention challenges on the back burner. Big mistake. While there is a surplus of job seekers, some companies are facing shortages in critical areas where they most need to attract and keep highly skilled talent. In other words, high unemployment rates do not mean that the talent you need will be there when you need it.

A targeted retention strategy can help companies navigate this “talent paradox” through an increasingly sophisticated view of what employees are looking for, what they value and why they are leaving. If a company can better understand why employees leave, it can take the requisite actions to get them to stay—in effect, creating a retention firewall to keep employees in and competitors out.

Explore “The Talent Paradox” in the current issue of Deloitte Review and take away strategies for building a robust retention firewall in your company.


Robin Erickson Robin Erickson is a specialist leader in Talent Strategies with Deloitte Consulting LLP. She has a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Northwestern University, where her focus was on the retention of downsizing survivors.

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