Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Training – Turnover Paradox

High performing and high potential employees want career adaptability and development opportunities, but managers often fear that training employees is no more than preparing them to work for the competitor. A paradox – yes.

Yet, there is an even greater training-turnover paradox. Career adaptability (the readiness to change with the changes of one’s work and career) is positively correlated with both organizational commitment and intention to quit. How can career adaptability correlate positively with both organizational commitment and intention to quit? The answer is advancement opportunities.

Advancement opportunities moderate whether career adaptability leads to an employee’s commitment to the organization or intention to quit the organization. (A moderator is a variable that changes the relationship between two other variables. One crude example often given of a moderator is alcohol. Isn’t it funny how women [or men] at a bar tend to get more attractive as the night progresses – thanks to the effects of alcohol?)

The take-away? Drink less alcohol? Maybe.

The take-away for managers? Provide strong training and development opportunities for your high performing and high potential employees, coupled with internal career advancement opportunities.

More on this and other employee retention strategies in my 2012 book, Managing Employee Turnover.

© Dr. Phil Bryant

Dr. Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbus State University and co-author of Managing Employee Turnover.


Grossman, R.J. (2011) The care and feeding of hig potential employees. HR Magazine, August: 2011, 34-39.

Ito, J.K., & Brotheridge, C.M. (2005) Does supporting employees’ career adaptability lead to commitment, turnover, or both? Human Resource Management, 44:1, 5-19.


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Musical Inquiry

Speaks now, clearly states his case.
His harsh voice opens the debate
His listeners
Appreciate his sound,
Interpret his message.

Distantly, quietly
adds depth and assists
in the interpretation.

Needs also to be heard;
Interrupts Dobro’s monologue.
His audience
Enjoys his sound;
This message, a bit less clear.

Less distant now,
Speaks with authority to the court,
Calls for order among the speakers.

Whines her message, too.
Her voice is high and nervous.
The jury
Enjoys the debate;
Provides their own interpretation

Drops his gavel,
With a percussive note,
Sentences reason to the chaos.

© Dr. Phil Bryant & B. Cullen Bryant


Filed under Poetic Perspectives

Soothing Stones

Scent of pine straw, wood and leaves
burning in my fireplace.
This “sit and stare time” relieves
me from the daily race.
Mesmerized as the night fire heaves,
within the flames I see your face.

I turn my gaze to the hearth.
The one we built with stones
you collected from when we joined our hearts
until you reached the catacombs.
From floor to ceiling our mantle marks
our life with these collected stones.

The base stone — heavy, large and strong
I kneel upon, ignite the nightly blaze.
Together we placed this base along
the wall to last us all our days.
Reminiscent of your passion strong,
and faithfulness to me always.

Upon this base, two cobblestones
more flat than they are round,
both half the width of th’ understone
lay across the stone upon the ground.
And like our smaller wedding stones,
mark us two as one forever bound.

From thence rise high up to the peak
a thousand stones — circled, smooth and small.
I listen close to each one speak
of Goliaths slain by all.
Individually placed not so neat,
but as a mosaic, they do enthrall.

Above the fire, level with the eye
three middle stones extend beyond the rest.
My gaze now on these center stones, I
rest in being truly blessed.
We raised these stones then let them fly
unto their own memorial nests.

Upon these mezo-stones there be
six smaller versions of the same.
These smaller stones sit loose and free.
For each, I have a special name.
A special name, each has for me,
and call my gaze back to the flame.

This fire I build here every night
and fix a gaze on every stone.
My practice since your final flight
you took to our “Forever Home.”
These stones that shine the fire’s light
soothe my soul. I’m not alone.

© Dr. Phil Bryant


Filed under Poetic Perspectives



The author of the blog post at the link above asks us to consider: have businesses swung the pendulum too far in emphasizing  applicants’ being a “good team player” over their ability to perform with excellence as an individual?

A proposition worth considering.

Your thoughts?

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The City That Care Forgot

Familiar scents, sounds and sights.
Though quite some time has past.
All so familiar.

Familiar scents bombarding.
Beer, shrimp, stench,
and people.

Familiar sounds overwhelming.
Zydeco, jazz, horns,
and people.

Familiar sights reminding.
Graves, antiques, streets,
and people.

Through the scents, sounds and sights.
I turn to see
if you’re still here.

You’re not still here.
You’ve not been here
for several years.

I turn again.
Scent, sound, and sight of tears.
All very familiar.

© Dr. Phil Bryant


Filed under Poetic Perspectives

Understanding Employee Turnover

Understanding Employee Turnover.

Dr. Lacrone got it right in his article at the hyperlink above. Organizational support, supervisor support, training and development opportunities, a bit of self determination – these all exert powerful forces toward employees’ will to remain with an organization. It goes back to the relational over the transactional. Viewing employee retention through the lens of salary and benefits makes for a transactional employer-employee hierarchy. Providing support, meaningful work, a climate of trust and growth – these make for a relational employer-employee relationship. In managing employee turnover, focus on the relational over the transactional.


Filed under Management Musings

Give’em a Raise

“Give’em a raise.”

It was the number one response I got when I told people I was writing a book about managing employee turnover.

“Give’em a raise.”

I kind of liken it to saying, “Lower your prices,” when someone explains they’d like to sell more of their product or services.

“Give’em a raise” is even more akin, though, to paying your suppliers more in an effort to buy their loyalty. It may work, but its certainly not sustainable and there are many other more cost effective approaches to obtaining the goal.

My guess is that “Give’em a raise” is the number one response because people believe pay is the number one reason for employee turnover. This is the first myth among five common myths busted by my co-authored book – Managing Employee Turnover.

Pay and pay satisfaction are not in the top ten predictors of employee turnover. Neither are in the top two-dozen. There are at least 29 better predictors of employee turnover than pay and pay satisfaction.

Employee turnover is better predicted by one’s relationship with their supervisor, satisfaction with their supervisor and co-workers, and work group cohesion.


Because behind every employee turnover there’s an employee – a person – a human being. (I hope to touch on this further in future posts.)

Over the years I’ve hired individuals for part time yard work, usually in the summer. I was particularly impressed with one young man whose services were invaluable for the several projects we wanted to complete before the school year started back again. In a nutshell, I wanted to retain his loyalty. I could “give’em a raise.” Or, I could work beside him literally in the trenches, befriend him, and offer a bottomless glass of lemonade.

I chose the relational over the transactional. The projects were completed on time. I made a lifelong friend, and there was no question about who’d be working with me over the next summer.

I encourage you, when dealing with your employees to choose the relational over the transactional.

© Dr. Phil Bryant

Dr. Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbus State University and co-author of Managing Employee Turnover.


Filed under Management Musings