Retention, by stages

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One-size-fits-all policies don’t recognize that people at different stages of their careers want different things

I am often asked, “What can I do to retain my most valuable IT employees?” And when I respond with, “What are you doing now?” I’m told about training, pay and bonuses, flextime, teamwork, flat organizations, independence, casual dress codes, health benefits, 401(k) matching, profit sharing and free food.

What’s particularly interesting is that the basic menu is the same for everyone.

Two underlying assumptions seem to drive this. First, that the only way for employees to feel fairly treated is to have a uniform policy that applies equally to everyone. Second, that the same set of policies will elicit the same desirable response from everyone. The first assumption seems pretty reasonable, but the second likely misses the mark. People want different things from their employers.

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