Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Employee Tenure

More and more these days we hear that it’s nearly impossible to expect an employee to stay with an organization for more than 2 years. Succession planning is therefore unrealistic. An employee would not want to stay with one organization a relatively long time. It's just not done.

Last night the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held their 2008 induction ceremony. Madonna, my favorite recording artist, was among those inducted. Her speech covered a number of topics, including how she got started in the business, fond memories of past accomplishments, musings on what’s to come, and “thank you”s to key players in her career. Imagine my surprise when Madonna announced that she wanted to thank Warner Bros., the record label she’s been signed to for her entire 25 year career. She also thanked her Publicist, with whom she has also been for 25 years. Both milestone achievements she announced with a sense of pride and the “you thought it couldn’t be done” attitude that Madonna exudes so often.

I was pleasantly shocked to hear these comments. From an HR perspective, there perhaps would be few employees more demanding than a mega recording star such as Madonna. However, these three parties have created a loyalty based on met professional needs.

Can we expect to have successful, 25 year loyalty with our employees like Warner Bros. has enjoyed? Probably not. However, if Warner Bros. can met a superstar’s needs successfully, and find positive ROI for their organization in the process, it is possible for us to work with our employees to gain perhaps 5 or 10 years of successful professional relationships.

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