Nov 212011




Because everyone likes a good list Love ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em Getting Good People To Stay contains 26 chapters (beginning from A and ending in Z) of strategies, ideas, questions and surveys on how to keep one’s best employees. Written for managers of people, the book offers strategy and advice on how managers can keep their best employees to stay, and stay to be productive and performing.

The book may be considered anachronistic given the tough times, but there is no better time than now to keep one’s top employees and, as such, Love ‘ Em Or Lose ‘Em’s concept would be timeless. Also, remember the book is addressing employees one likes to keep. Whether the book is too liberal or enlightened and how the pressures and deadlines of real life come between theory and practice should not be a hindrance in the adoption of all, several or even just one of these notions.
Personally, using acronyms or colloquial would not be my choice, let alone in a book’s title, but there is a plethora of topics and angles considered here. Here are select notes, which are elaborated on in their respective chapters:

A- In its pages the book features reasons why people stay at their work (page 13: exciting work, career growth, good co-workers, fair pay…), offers ‘Stay’ interview questions (page 15: ask, ask, ask for knowing is better than not and superior to guessing)
B- Managers believe money is the most important factor in making people stay and, not having enough to offer, fear asking employees about their needs and wants. The book argues that, as mentioned, asking is nonetheless a must and indeed managers are the prime reason employees stay or go. One’s manager is where the buck stops. Company culture is important, but managers are more germane. Loyalty is to boss, co-workers and work; not to buildings or brands. Managers need to be held accountable for keeping their employees.
C- Managers need to know their people’s talents, offer perspective, discuss trends, discover options, co-design an action plan and then support it. For instance, a vertical promotion is not always the sole option. A horizontal move may be a better fit and more complementary.
D- The authors argue that everyone is prejudiced one way or the other. As such, conveniences and preferences sometimes masquerade as requirements. Trust the employees and they become trustworthy.
F- The chapter speaks to work/life balance and poses questions such as ‘what is the point of a high-power job that makes you miserable?’ Advice: be caring and flexible. Set clear expectations and explain they need to be delivered, but from there offer flexibility.
G- Not all who want to be promoted will leave if advancement is not available, but good ones will leave if they are not challenged. Other options exist and include lateral movements and relocation. Help your employees with their goals.
H- Managers must hire right fits with patience. Listen to candidates and employees and do not hire in desperation. Embarrassingly, the book references itself and suggests leaving a copy of the book on the table during interviews, thus signalling what a great place the company is. On a more modest note, the authors speak to re-recruiting people.
J- Here is something useful: a ‘jerk’ check list. Do you recognize yourself or someone you know?
K- Have fun at work! It makes people more productive and never compromises results. Of course, it has to be in conjunction with achieving company results.
N- Here the book makes a very good point. If a company loses a piece of equipment, say a computer, the police or security is called in and an investigation is launched. Why is the same care not accorded the loss of an employee? According to the book, and oft-cited statistics, replacing a staff member costs twice the amount of the person’s salary and escalates to three times the annual salary for platinum employees.
T- The book insists on truthfulness and honesty. Managers should be candid and discuss the good and the bad. Confidential company secrets and others’ personal information notwithstanding, information is to be shared. Moreover, the sharing should not be restricted to annual evaluation time. As well, share bad information in-person.

These are just overview samples of the book’s content. One must pick all or the most relevant and commit to them. The book does not drill deeply into any one topic and, therefore, is better suited for quick reference, fast learning and quick practice.

Ultimately, if one believes the content, Love ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em is not just pro employee; it is also pro employer.

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  2. Rebecca Ray, Senior Vice President of Human Capital, The Conference Board I have long believed love is at the deepest center of leading oneself and others, and to find a book that provides specific and practical ways for managers to pay attention to their talent is truly a gift.

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