Make us your home page
Instagram
Working | Employee retention

Time for employers to focus on keeping top talent

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The economy still has a long climb to recovery in 2011, but some employers already are considering how to retain the talent they have even as they struggle with layoffs or cautiously look to add new staff.

Recruiters say that will become even more important as the economy improves.

"Retention will be huge, and companies maybe are not paying attention to that because they're so focused on the bottom line," said Amelya Stevenson, president of the Sacramento Human Resource Association.

"People have been extremely thankful that they've had a job, but now that things are blowing over, employers need to tell their employees — out loud — that they are thankful for their service," said Kim Parker, executive vice president of the California Employers Association.

Employees are reading the news and seeing their employers' improving fortunes, said local market researcher Rick Reed. They have survived the downturn with its budget cuts, wage freezes and layoffs and want to be rewarded for their perseverance. "Exports are up . . . and the U.S. banks are making record profits. Stocks are above 12,000. Employees are asking, 'When does that reach the street?' " said Reed.

Employers are starting to hear the message. Average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents in January or $3.20 over a 40-hour workweek, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, while wages have risen by nearly 2 percent over the past year.

Parker, of the California Employers Association, said she's hearing from employers who are lifting wage freezes, restoring 401(k) retirement matching funds and resurrecting training programs.

Still, in a volatile job market, employees may be looking for new opportunities, particularly in the information technology sector.

Online tech job postings are on the rise, but salaries remain largely flat. Workers are caught in what tech careers website Dice.com calls an "infinite loop" of stagnant wages, even as demand for their skills grows.

"Turnover is likely going to increase in 2011. Tech workers are looking for more at this point," said Tom Silver, a Dice.com senior vice president. About 40 percent of workers surveyed by Dice.com believe they can make more money if they switch firms in 2011. "People figure they can make more money if they change employers," Silver said.

"Retention needs to be something employers think about," said Kimberly Stiener-Murphy, a Sacramento manager for employment firm Robert Half International. "The employee . . . is going to be open to opportunity. Jobs are growing and people are going to keep their eyes open."

Siemens Mobility employs 750 workers at its south Sacramento plant and late last year landed a lucrative Amtrak contract that will add 200 more workers over the next two years.

But parent company Siemens AG didn't wait to acknowledge its current employees, doling out a nearly $100 million "special payment" in December to its U.S. workers "for their extraordinary performance in a difficult time," said Siemens AG president and CEO Peter Loscher.

But retention perks take many forms, and they often go beyond money.

At the small Sacramento insurance firm Rood & Dax, employees can take a quiet moment in a meditation room, can order chair massages and are rewarded for volunteering in their communities.

Time for employers to focus on keeping top talent 03/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 5:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Ciccio executive chef Luis Flores prepares an Impossible Burger Wednesday at the Epicurean Hotel Food Theatre in Tampa.
  3. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project

    Health

    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    Construction is underway for the new Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Heart Institute in downtown Tampa. This view is from atop Amalie Arena, where local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the first piece of what will be the new Water Street District. The USF building is expected to open in late 2019. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  4. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
[SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  5. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]