Why Retention Plans?

Most managers hear “retention plan,” they immediately think “stay bonus.” And to be sure, those bonuses could very well be a real part of most retention plans.

A well-thought retention plan, however, is much more than simply “money.”

Retention plans can be necessary for critical continuity during turbulent, transitional, or heavy-change times. When necessary, and well-thought, retention plans create real, measurable value to an organization when it needs it most. The key, of course, is the “well-thought” part.

During the sorts of times mentioned above – the times that drive the thinking behind retention plans – it’s easy to look to those who have done so much up to now, and convince yourself that a reward is in order. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but a retention plan isn’t the way to go about it.

A retention plan should never be used to reward prior performance; its sole purpose should be to ensure retention of those employees critical for the future success of the organization, both during and after the retention period.

So, what exactly is a retention plan? Think 3 things:
1. Communications,
2. Employee Development, and
3. Bonus Compensation.

All three of these are necessary for effective retention, and for emerging mostly unscathed after an organization’s transition.

For Communications, think open, relevant, and frequent.

Employee Development is part of the future promise of “things to come,” that will provide future leverage.

Bonus Compensation is just that – a cash “carrot” paid out in such a manner as to be worthwhile to both the employee and the organization.

Retention plans can be critical for future success – but they aren’t simply a promise of payment to a large group of people. Think through carefully what you need, and implement a plan accordingly.


Kevin Berchelmann

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