Erica Keswin: Author of The Retention Revolution

Episode 462

Renowned workplace strategist and bestselling Author Erica Keswin shares her latest book, The Retention Revolution. How do companies stay competitive in this ever-changing world of work? How can companies make work a more enjoyable, productive experience as trust between many employees and employers has been eroding. Erica answers this and more. So whether you are the employee or the employer, we dig into the details as well as the suggested specific frameworks. So much great to listen to on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. Its Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. I’m so excited to have my next guest here we have Erica Keswin, who is the author of the retention revolution. I’ve got it right here. So excited. Just came out a few weeks ago, Ish. Ish, right. And it is such a great book. It’s actually her third book, and all of them are quite excellent. It’s rare that we actually have repeats on here. But Erica is a special special one. And because her other books were just so fantastic, I had to have her back to share this. And plus, her book is just unbelievable. And it’s so relevant for everything going on right now in the workplace, for sure. So she is a workplace strategist, best selling author. And the retention revolution really talk gets into how do companies how do leaders stay competitive in this ever changing world of work? And how can companies make work a much more enjoyable and productive experience? I think it’s no secret that trust between many employees and employers is kind of challenged at sort of the the topic of the outer hour and definitely has been eroding over the last few years. For sure. Erica came on our show, as I mentioned a few years ago, and hopefully we’ll get to have her talk a little bit about why she decided to ultimately write this book. But also I want to dig into some of her specific frameworks that she has, that can help you not only as a leader, but maybe you’re an employee, and you’re listening to this and you want to bring it back. Maybe you want to come or have Erica come in and speak to your your teams. That would be incredible, too. So without further ado, Erica, welcome.

Erica Keswin 2:43
Thank you excited to see you.

Kara Goldin 2:45
Absolutely, absolutely. So what exactly will start with this? What exactly is retention revolution.

Erica Keswin 2:56
So over the last couple of years, as we know, since March of 2020, I would say that many many things, if not all things are most things we know about work really were turned on its head. And being a workplace strategist and studying the workplace for the last 25 years. I wouldn’t say these trends were new, because I was starting to see them. And I even wrote about them in my other books, but the pandemic accelerated them. So we we you know, we had to react, there was really we didn’t have a choice, you know, all the knowledge workers overnight sent home kind of thing. So the retention revolution is the idea that the new in many organizations, there are up to five generations of people working under one roof. And as the new generations come in, they look at work very differently, you know, gone long gone are the days when people are going to stay at one company and slowly move up the ladder. And so the retention revolution is about we have to be really intentional about our first interactions with employees, how we connect with them around our mission or vision, purpose. And while they’re with us, we need to help them develop up down and sideways. Most recent Gallup study found with Gen Z that mean even more than compensation, they want to feel like they’re developing. And then if and when they come to you and say, Kara, you know what, you know, I’m having a great experience, but I’m gonna move on. The retention revolution is about taking a deep breath of the leader and trying to refrain from at least my instinct, which might be, you know, don’t let the door hit you and hit you in the behind and identifying ways to stay connected. So that work becomes more of a virtuous cycle and that the word connected really is the through line, connected early, feeling connected while they’re there, and even staying connected after people leave.

Kara Goldin 4:51
You know, it’s fascinating, I think about this a lot. In growing, the companies that I’ve been a part of Not only as a manager but as a CEO, but I remember working for, or working at CNN for Ted Turner and Ted Turner had this philosophy at CNN, that never save, never try and save somebody who’s leaving. Because his thinking was that if somebody actually comes in announces to you that they are leaving, then they’ve actually been thinking about it for a while, you don’t just like say, Okay, I’m out of here. Most people don’t, right, like you’re at least a few days, usually longer and they’ve got, you know, a job, all of a sudden, they spring it on you, like, you know, I’ve decided to take this job. If you give them more money, you give them a title change, maybe they take that, but there’s a lot of stats around, you know, six months, one year, they’re gone, right there, they’re not going to stay. And so his theory was that always ask people, and I guess this applies to to, you know, allowing people to stay a couple of weeks, like his theory was, if you can’t leave with the same excitement that you had when you walked in the door, then you know, that’s a problem. But in addition to that, as it relates to actually trying to save somebody, he definitely had a left me with the, you know, let them fly, like appreciate the fact

Erica Keswin 6:30
that people love them, let them go. And so there’s a there’s one of the companies in the book that really ties this idea together, which is a company in Chicago called jellyfish. And I interviewed them for bring your human to work. And they have a policy of philosophy called the graceful leaves policy that they talk about when you’re going to leave during the onboarding. So what they do is they say, Kara, you know what, we’re so excited, you’re here on your first day work, and you know what, it was hard to find you and you have unique skills, and we know you’re going to crush it here. And if you do decide one day to leave, it is going to be very hard to replace you. So our philosophy here given given that good people are hard to come by, you know, what we want to do is if you come to us, and if you tell us that you have another opportunity and give us notice, we will work with you, we will open up our Rolodex, we will help you we will support you. But let’s work on this, you know, together. And it almost just takes the sort of the elephant you’re addressing the elephant in the room sort of from day one. The other thing I would add this is not in the book, which I thought I wish it was in the book. But as you know, having written a book, when you write a book, at some point, you got to cut it a home. And I read the study out of it was done around the the American Bar Association around lawyers. And what they found was that new lawyers, you know, bright eyed, bushy tailed fresh right out of law school ready to crush it in their law firms. Only 30% of them even have a desire a goal to become a partner. So that to me is so foreign, you know, I’m 55 Gen X, like I worked in consulting, well, of course, I want to be a managing director or a partner or my friends in banking, and how you have these leaders almost having to look themselves in the mirror and say, wow, they don’t want to be me. And one, they sort of feel kind of crappy about it, but and there’s like an ego around it. But if you know that from a business leadership perspective, to say it’s okay. And you know, what, if this is a law firm, and you decide, you know, we actually have one of the one of the companies I spoke to has a group inside of the law firm, one of these big firms that we all know, where if you want to move on, it’s almost like an internal ombudsman that could help you figure out what to do. And in certain companies, especially professional services, it’s good business, right? They leave a law firm, they that’s your future client. So the new I mean, our kids, you know, at least all three of mine, I’m not sure about all four years, but mine are all Gen Z. And they look at their careers as a portfolio that I think it’s five years from now with, we’re back on this podcast. I don’t know if I’ve written any more books by then. But I was an executive recruiter, if somebody moved around like that it was red flag, red flag, and I think the world is just changing. Yeah, well, I

Kara Goldin 9:28
think they’ve also watched their parents, right. So uh, you and I are both Gen Xers and and I have low end of millennial and the rest of Gen Z. And it’s true. I mean, I think that their perspective of you know, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go to college, and I’m going to do this, but I may change things like along the way. It’s harder to change things if one of mine is pre med. So it It may be it’s a little tougher to do that, but not impossible. And I think that there’s this emphasis on change, because they’ve seen so many of their parents, their parents friends, like, sad about their choice and feeling like they had to stay there. So I think that’s totally, totally true. So do you think retention is the main problem that employee years are facing today? Or what would you mean, there’s a lot of problems out there, right?

Erica Keswin 10:33
I address a lot of in the book, my hope, though, one of the things I think about is, over the last three and a half years, the image that comes to my mind is a pendulum. So we go from the great resignation to the great or not so great recession, we go from, you know, going to the office to going home to going back to the office, and we go from the employers feeling like they have the power to employees having the power, sort of, you know, along the lines with the, with the contractions and expansions in the market. So what I believe is that a lot of the ideas in the book are somewhat evergreen, but my hope is that they are relevant sort of, irrespective of, of these pendulum swings. Because if we do things from a business perspective, and from a human perspective, if we treat people well, if we, you know, make sure that our managers are equipped with with leading in these very turbulent times, if we help people grow and develop on the job, if we, if we incorporate this is a big one, I’m sure we’ll get into it. But if we optimized for both the flex the desire and aka demand for flexibility, but also the, the need, the business need and the human need for connection, like all of these things that I addressed in the book, are good for people, and good for business. So why while and they end up being good for retention, but I think the difference is, we’re not doing them only because we have to retain everyone in this, you know, we’re trying to golden handcuffs, everybody to the desk, like that just doesn’t work. So there’s, there’s always been and I think always will be award for your top talent. Like, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the great resignation, or the Great Recession, you want to retain your best people. And so it’s I think it will always be an issue. But a lot of these ideas, we’re doing them because they’re the right things to do for our people. And the younger people are demanding it, they’re wearing it on their sleeves, they want their leaders to know them as people. There’s a chapter in the book about being a human professional and being more human at work. And so a lot of this, the byproduct will be retention, which I think is a lot of what people want, but it’s but it’s a piece of the whole thing. Definitely.

Kara Goldin 12:52
So I pulled the survey from resume builder, you may have heard about this before, but 74% of managers say that Gen Z is the most challenging generation to work with. And I found that really interesting on many levels. I think that, you know, maybe the way that many organizations have been set up is this hierarchy, right? Where to your point before, it’s like, you know, some people don’t want to be partners, right? There’s people that just want to come in, they want to get out at five o’clock and go running, go sailing, whatever. But I feel like there’s definitely this emphasis emphasis on generations. On the other hand, I think that there’s a lot of different types of Gen Z years to that, you know, you can’t just clump them into your a Gen Z, you’re a millennial. So how do you figure this out as a leader, like, What do I got in the pie, right? Like,

Erica Keswin 13:52
you’re having real conversation people. It’s funny right? Before we started recording you and I have a mutual friend, Lindsey Pollack, who’s written a lot about the generations wrote a book called The REMAX. And we were both speaking at a conference this week in New Orleans. So we saw each other and, and she had a slide of the different generations. And it’s funny, you’re saying, well, the managers are saying this Gen Z is most difficult. She showed covers from Time magazine, right back when people you know, in Time magazine would come out in print. And when the millennial, like when we were in the millennial generation, there was a cover on Time Magazine, Time magazine that said, the mean me, me generation. So back then, the manager said, that was the most difficult generation. So, you know, all of the generations have their challenges, all of them have great things that they bring to the workforce. I think the key to it, though, is to understand the stereotypes around these generations and what they bring. And there’s a there’s a, one of my I mean, I there’s all really cool stories in the book, but one of the ones that I love is it’s from an architecture firm in happens to be in Colorado. And this that one of the principals had been to a conference where she heard a presentation on understanding generational differences. And now as part of their onboarding, everybody participates in, here’s this presentation. And one of my friends was doing a pre read for me of the retention revolution. And she called me and she said, Oh, my gosh, you know, I love this example. I’m a Gen X er, and now, you know, I understand like, this is why, as someone who’s Gen X, I like to pick apart the argument, and everybody around me tells me I’m so critical, but it’s actually a generational thing of how I approach problems. So if you’re a young person coming into a company, and your boss happens to be Gen X, and you understand some of these, again, they’re, they’re they’re generalizations, but there’s sometimes truth in these generalizations. Maybe you won’t maybe as a Gen Z, you know, you won’t take it so personally, or if your Gen Z employees making you insane, for whatever reason, and you understand where that person is coming from. And I think we are living longer, we are working longer. And so when you have five generations, you know, from the Boomers to Gen Z, working at the same company, I think this this is a challenge, but I see it more as a real upside or real opportunity to get the best from all these generations. But the more that we can sort of sympathize and empathize and have an understanding, you know, that’s the that’s the first step.

Kara Goldin 16:29
That’s really the key. So definitely the the world of work obviously has gone haywire, right on on many levels, you know, we’ve got different generations all trying to hang out together at at work and do what they think is best, but then we have this whole zoom. A hybrid. You know, I I know many people who do not have to be on Zoom today are choosing please call me on the phone. I’m so tired. Here’s

Erica Keswin 17:02
my phone. Yeah, the phone is like the new best invention ever. Yeah.

Kara Goldin 17:06
And it’s an I read, it’s, it’s crazy, like, talk about the pendulum. You know, like, it’s just things like that, that just next thing, you know, we’re gonna have fax machine.

Erica Keswin 17:19
We’re gonna hand right. Look, if you get a letter in the mail today, it’s amazing. But I do I remember during the pandemic, I would say to people, can we just, let’s go for a walk, like, let’s go outside, I’m gonna get my stepson, and we can talk on the phone. And there’s research shows that if you’re in nature, your retention is better. Yeah, no,

Kara Goldin 17:35
absolutely. So, but connection is still super key. And I think there are, you know, it’s fascinating, because I have employees that used to work for me, that have come back, we’ve remained friendly, and they come back and talk to me about sort of what they’re going to do next. The number one thing that I feel there, and these are all millennials, the number one thing that I think they’re really struggling with, I mean, call it mental health, but it’s really connection. I mean, they feel like, it sounded great that I was, you know, remote, and I was living in Montana, or I was, you know, my company was based in Florida, and I was going to be getting up at 5am. But I don’t want to live virtually, like, that’s not what I wanted to do for work. I want to have connections and and I think like, connections are really tough. And and frankly, I think it’s also I mean, this is a whole other topic. But as we start to look at the new college graduates, I think it’s it’s, you know, a tough market also, because many people like us that are hiring people to come into their companies, they’re like, Okay, those people that have no experience are going to be kind of hard to manage hybrid Lee, right. Like, you know, and I don’t really want to do that right now.

Erica Keswin 19:00
I think we’re there’s a will there’s a way, and the way that I approach this, there’s a chapter in the book on flexibility. And I believe that we need to to ace flexibility, we need to think about flexibility through the lens of a stands for a autonomy, or it could also stand for agency. Everybody wants to have a little bit of agency or autonomy over their work lives. Who wouldn’t? Not every role can have the same amount. I think we can all agree with that. Number two, the C stands for connection. We have got to design for connection cheesy as it sounds left to our own devices. We’re not connecting, and I have a lot of different. There’s a lot of ways to do it. But we can’t leave it to chance we’ve got at this point three and a half years post March 2020. We as leaders, we must put a stake in the ground. We can put the stake in the ground with a caveat saying look, this is an experiment it might change. But clarity is kindness And the wishy washy ness is causing a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, and the E is through the lens of equity. It’s not all going to be equal. But how can we think about this through the through the lens of equity. And so for those listening you, there’s probably people that listen to your podcast care from all different kinds of companies and industries and startups this than the other. One of the things that kind of blew me away, though, was that there are roles that pre pandemic in a million years you never thought could be, could have had any flexibility. So one, for example, you go into Neiman Marcus, right? You have a salesperson, and you’re like, well, that person has to be there. I mean, that’s what I always would have thought, however, you know, in the pandemic, all the stores are closed, and everybody was able to really rethink what we know about work. And what they realized was that, you know, and if you’re in a high end store, like Neiman Marcus, there are hours in a week, it’s not going to be four days, but there are some hours where the person needs to email or text their clients and make appointments, they put the new fashions on their Instagram, they you know, if it’s a really big client, maybe they’re designing outfits for their next 20 speaking engagements, who knows? So, so what they found was that that person could work at home, maybe four hours a week, whatever it is, that even that little bit can make a huge impact on your life, on your mental health on this sense of agency and control over your life. Last week, I spoke at a conference. Funny, I’ve been to New Orleans, twice in a week. But this one was for HR leaders at all of the universities in the country. And one of the things they were saying was, if you’re I mean, there’s so many different roles. I mean, some of these universities, I sat next to one from Penn State, they have 17,000 people that work there, like I didn’t even occur to me there was some people crazy, right? And she was like, Look, the landscaper like, why does the landscaper have to be there five days a week, the landscaper doesn’t he or she could work three really long days. And and maybe there’s another landscaper who would rather work five shorter days, maybe that person has kids, maybe the other person doesn’t, maybe someone’s taking care of elderly parents. So I think there’s this opportunity, then I’ll then I’ll get to the point about designing for connection because we need to think about them together. But this, this, this desire. And again, demand for flexibility is not going away. And I think there are if we are willing to be creative and spend time thinking about it. We can make we can make a difference. Oh my god, I’m looking in my eyes. For those you know, we’ll share some clips. But literally, there’s a bit behind me. There’s some guy in the window, cleaning your windows. Luckily, I’m in your oh my god Hello, stir. Luckily, bathroom. So while at the same time we’re looking at at autonomy, we have to design for connection. And I’d written an article Gosh, way back now called on sites or the new off sites, how do we design a day in the office, it’s worth the commute. So again, I live in New York City, here’s what we don’t want, right in your outside of San Francisco, what we don’t want is people commuting in hour and a half whatever it is, and the grumpy now and they get there and a third of their team is there. And they’re doing the exact same kind of work they could be doing from home. That’s what I call the recipe for resentment. And so what we need to do, and again, someone has to decide they want to take this on because trust me, it will not happen on its own is to say, alright, let’s look at the nature of the work. And we’re going to come in on these days, and we’re going to create, I feel like this phrase is overused now, but I’m gonna say it anyway, you know, and create these, these moments that matter these moments of connection. So if I had a company, and people were coming in, let’s say on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, maybe everybody in the company is going on Tuesday, we have an all hands we have an opportunity to learn, like if learning is one of our values, maybe on Thursdays, that’s the day where your team connects, you know, when maybe on Monday, that’s when you do your one on one. So you know, whatever it is when we have to realize and I guess I knew this before, but I think other people are waking up to this, that the connection part of your job is part of the job. You know, it’s because if we don’t, I mean, that’s why all these people are like, you know, you built relationship with them and you’re in touch with them. And you know, if we don’t have that, the minute somebody is out at a party and meet someone else, and they say, Hey, Kara, we have a job for you, with my company come work for us. You’re like great, okay. And that’s the impact on retention because if you don’t have any connections, at work with your colleagues, with your clients, with your boss, with the purpose of the company, you are much more likely to leave why not? You know when the opportunity presents itself? Definitely. So

Kara Goldin 24:56
professional development I think could fit into this very nicely To how, how would you suggest? People look at that, like, if they’re looking at professional development? I guess it’s why is it time to take professional development personally, I mean, when you’re looking at the individuals, but I think to some extent, it might actually be a group setting like Tuesdays, we’re going to, you know, maybe there’s a session on Gen Z’s where managers are feeling like I’m just not getting through. And they don’t necessarily want to go to HR. And, you know, but they want to figure out what other ways are people getting through to to people, I’m just making that up. But maybe you have another example?

Erica Keswin 25:46
Well, I think, I mean, 2024, it’s got to be a priority and everybody’s list. And the reason is, again, not just this whole thing about Gen Z, but the new Gallup study found that even more than compensation for many people, they want to learn on the job. And if they are not feeling that they are learning and growing, they will leave this chapter in the book is called from ladders to lilypads. And it’s called that because organizations are flattening. And that’s not a new trend, it’s been accelerated, but you know, gone are the days of moving up in the ladder. So, you know, it’s called from lily pads, because if we don’t help people grow, sort of not only up but maybe down and maybe sideways, they’re going to hop on over to another company, hands down. And so if you’re a leader, and you’re listening to this, you know, just if you’re, if you’re managing a team, or managing a company, this is something that you can do, I mean, you can think about how people can grow. And it could be we find a project, outside of somebody’s area of interest, it could be, you know, Udemy has a ritual and learning ritual called deal, drop everything and learn one Wednesday a month, where it’s, it’s, I mean, it’s Udemy, there are learning company, but a lot of companies that I’ve spoken with now, after they hear this story, have kind of adopted it, which is, we want to show that we value it, and these days, with people working later into the night and technology and just how much people are working when they’re during outside of business hours, you want to also show that you value if you value learning and professional development, you got to do it during the day, you know, the days of let’s take class or do it after work like that, that’s not going to fly any any more either. So I also heard a really great example that I want to share that’s not in the book that I heard about after it. But this is I love this example, there was a manager who shared that she sat down her, let’s say, eight people on her team. And she said, Alright, guys, look, I cannot control, you know, the macro economic forces and, you know, big level decisions, but like from the C suite, but here’s what I can do for you. I can help you grow and develop. So she said, what I want you to do is go find a job description, that that of a job that you might want to have in three to five years, he could be here at this company, or it could be anywhere. So like, I don’t care, Bring, bring that to me. And let’s look at the skills you would need to successfully get that job. And then let’s look at the skills you have now. And let’s look at the gaps, what actually goes what I can do. And what I will commit to doing is to help you close those gaps. And again, to me, yes, there’s only so many hours in the day, but I would stay and I would work for that manager because it’s like, alright, this is the company that I know. And and like, what the, you’re gonna get that person for an extra six months, an extra year and maybe an extra five years, because you know, you don’t have to leave to get these growth. Opportunity. Yeah, and so and so the other way look at it is if leaders need to create an ecosystem of growth within their company, or within their department, whatever it is, or they’re gonna find another, they’re gonna find another company where they can get it. And it as we know, it costs a lot to replace someone.

Kara Goldin 29:03
Yeah. Or they’re gonna create very bitter employees, right, who are gonna, who are not going to be as productive. All All right, those aspects,

Erica Keswin 29:13
veins are really evidence that you raise a really good point, which is and as you know, you know, being a CEO of a company, you know, there’s an I think a lot of people aren’t talking about this, this enough, which is any of these changes, you have to also address the change management piece. Because let’s say you hear this and you’re like, Alright, we’re going to do leadership development, and we’re going to move people around if your managers are all hoarding talent, and and don’t really want to let some of their I used to in the recruiting world. I used to call them you know, the best athletes go, then you’re right, you’re going to create a culture where people feel stuck and they’re bitter, and then they’re probably going to lead anyway. And so it’s it’s doing the change management. It’s aligning the rewards and that like I have this this To dream that a company is going to say, look, we’re going to, we’re going to give our you know, at our next all hands, we’re going to give shout outs to managers who’ve moved the most people around the company, you know, at the end of the year, I mean, we got to measure and evaluate and celebrate people for that, to show them that it’s important.

Kara Goldin 30:17
Have you heard of this company airspeed? I had him on really interesting, you should definitely check them out. It’s it’s a founder of actually Sales Navigator which LinkedIn acquired. But he had this whole idea of creating this sort of using slack, this internal connection, but it’s actually cueing not only employees, but managers to for different prompts. And, and also, you would have the option to have understanding where people live to where you were scheduling a meeting, for example, and somebody said, Okay, 9am, and, you know, and they think the whole world lives in New York, well, guess what, somebody on the in New York and San Francisco is passed, but you didn’t know, like, as a manager, all of a sudden, you’ve got this employee, who in the beginning is like, Okay, well, that’s what I have to do. And then all of a sudden, they’re like, Wait, not everybody, like they wake up to this fact. And you’ve got this really bitter employee that is, you know, probably, you know, working from home is, you know, just sort of clock punching, basically. But anyway, it’s got different tools.

Erica Keswin 31:40
Right? It’s like leveraging, I mean, I love that example. I talked about how do we find the sweet spot between tech and connect, let’s leverage this technology for all of its greatness, but then also connect, put it in its place and connect in a deeper way. And so yeah, it’s it’s create, also creating a culture of that psychological safety where that San Francisco person who’s pissed feels like, they can say something. Yeah, totally. Which a lot of people wouldn’t, and then they quit. And you’re like, Oh, that was an easy fix. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 32:10
YouTube should definitely meet he is. He’s, he’s a great guys here. And, you know, had actually gone in internally at Salesforce during the, during the pandemic, and he saw this problem. And so he built these apps. And they’re current, I think they’re free now for, for companies that are under 50 employees. And then, yeah, so anyway, you should definitely because it goes along with your book perfectly. Like it’s, it’s super, super terrific. So as we navigate the post pandemic world outside of kind of dealing with this hybrid issues that we were sort of forced to set up, and we’re, we have to figure out how to manage that now, what are the most significant shifts or opportunities that individuals and businesses should really be prepared for? Yeah,

Erica Keswin 33:05
I mean, you know, when we say post pandemic, it’s it’s just, there’s just constant change. And Amy Cuddy coined this term during the pandemic called the pandemic flux syndrome, which is this constant swinging of the pendulum. And she was speaking at a conference I was at a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s just the flux syndromes got taken out the word pandemic. But I do think this feeling of being influx, I don’t know, I think it’s here to stay. And maybe it’s just with the pace of change, I think post pandemic, and I’m sure you’ve had, you’ve had been talking about it, you know, with with your guests, and just in your world and in your life and friends and kids. But, you know, when I think about AI, and when I think about the increasing role of technology, and how that’s going to change our lives, one of the things I think a lot about is the things that we’ve spoken about today become even that much more important. So making sure that people feel connected, making sure that our leaders and our managers and our Gen Zers coming in, have some of these have some of these human skills, because they are going to be that much more critical. I heard. There was a Jared Spataro runs like this future of work group at Microsoft, and I heard a video from him the other day, which I thought we’d hit they have to have to run the AI their copilot tool. So he’s obviously speaking and writing a lot about AI. But it struck me in our conversation today, which is the impact that AI is going to have is that everybody is going to be a manager. And what he meant by that is let’s say there’s certain roles, that entry level roles that the entry level people used to have to do coming up with three different examples of something or doing some analyses or whatever it is. So let’s say AI can spit out you know, three options. for whatever it is our entry level people used to do. Now they’re going to come in and the skill set that they need is like the level up from that. So the analysis, the editing, yeah, yeah, yes. And or the skill of being in a group and being able to persuade and influence to get people to pick one of them before the scene people were the ones designing them. So I don’t that fully answers your question. But, you know, this post pandemic, it’s figuring out this whole optimization of flexibility and connection, I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. And I think we’re just changing it, the need to be more human at work, and connect with people as full as real humans, Gen Z is demanding it, but I think the rest of the world got a taste of it during the pandemic, and doesn’t want to let go of it either. And then the third is incorporating this role of tech, increasingly large role of technology.

Kara Goldin 35:56
So last question. So how do we measure success of retention programs to I mean, is it as simple as you retain these people? And therefore, I mean, that was that was the good old days, right? You bring in consultants who are will share? Okay, well, you’ve had, you know, 80% retention, and that’s pretty good. You can get to 90 and and that’s perfect. But what are the rules? Now? I mean, it seems like we’re living in a world where there’s many managers that are okay with cutting some roles out because you’ve got AI, because the economy is doing what it is all of all of these, you know, issues, but how do you measure success? Like when do you know that you’re really good at retaining? And, you know, during this time of of havoc?

Erica Keswin 36:59
So I think there’s an I would, if it were me, I’d be looking at a number of metrics, we’re always going to look at good old fashioned retention, but then we need to go beneath, you know, we got to open the hood of the car, because some of it might be retention that is good for the organization. You know, there is some, sometimes there’s not enough attrition or turnover. And then the question becomes, are we retaining the people that we want to retain, you know, flip? The other way is, are we losing some of our best athletes? Are we losing some of the people that like, what what happened? Like why after you look at the numbers, you we need to get the stories in the why behind why we’re losing. Now, I would also look at another metric, which it’s called different things in different companies, but I was just speaking to somebody, you know, for them, they call it church turnover. And what was interesting to me was, the definition of it was when people leave, but they’re staying within the same company. And he was frustrated, he was the head of talent. He was like, I don’t understand the managers are complaining about turnover, because for them, they have to find somebody and retrain somebody. But from an organizational perspective, I said to him, like, this is like the gold standard, because they’re gonna leave all together. But again, it’s the individual managers not, you know, they might feel the pain in the short term. And maybe it’s changing these incentives, that they also can benefit from the person saying, so I would look at turnover, I would look at turnover, but I don’t like the name turnover, it sounds negative, but I actually think positive, I would also look at employee engagement. Because I think when people are more engaged, they’re going to be more productive. And those two things are linked, if you’re engaged, you are much more likely to stay. So I think, you know, when I’m probably over time, I’m going to begin to think think of more ways. The other thing is I would really invest some time and energy into onboarding programs, because the data shows that that the more robust and connected people feel during the onboarding, and there’s something called the 90 day rule, this cannot be a day, it can’t be week, it can’t be a month like and you need to then re onboard and re recruit and have these stay conversations. It really is an ongoing proceed process that needs to take place. That is going to have a huge impact. So if you get really good scores, my guess would be I’m just sort of processing that out loud. I love it. If you’re, you’re amazing question. But I bet that if you invest more in onboarding and the higher your ratings go on how connected you feel after onboarding, I bet there will be a positive correlation between that and your retention.

Kara Goldin 39:41
You know, it’s fascinating. We started this actually during the pandemic when we were on boarding different people and it partly came from some of the interns that we were hiring who really wanted to understand who was working in the company mean Gone are the days I think were employees who are coming in to Who many companies are, you know, they’re coming in as a in marketing, for example. And typically, you would just know the marketing people. But we made everybody once a month, it was your role to reach out to somebody, and have an hour one on one with them to understand what they did every day, why they pick this job. So it goes to your learning that you’re talking about. But they, when we went back and talked to people about that program, that was something that everybody really, really enjoyed. Right? Like they just said, like, they had no idea. Like as a, you know, customer service person, like how they think about things and how things like if you’re, if, for example, your supply chain is all messed up, how that will put a number of hours on the customer service, because they’re going to hear that the orders late, whatever. So to be able to connect all of these dots around the company, people felt like they really understood the company more

Erica Keswin 41:10
well, and that’s good for the company totally, because they like being in someone else’s shoes. So not only do they feel like they’re growing and developing and really learning. I mean, that is a win win. And so because people do feel like they get so siloed and almost, you know, stuck. So you’re giving them exposure, which is so good for your bottom line, because people then begin to think about their own issues. In other ways, tone that to me isn’t greener. You know, the other thing is in this in the from ladders to lilypads chapter, there’s, I always think, you know, I have three kids in college and like, Why two kids in college? Why are they the only ones that get internships? And so there’s a company that I profiled that has these internal chips, where you can actually say, you know, I want to test this out, and they can end up moving into another area. It’s such a great idea. It’s like, yeah, no, it does take work. Somebody has to own it. But I think it’s a really important areas we go for now.

Kara Goldin 42:07
I think it’s terrific. Well, Erica, excellent job on book number three, the retention revolution, I suggest everyone pick up a copy. And are you on Audible

Erica Keswin 42:19
yet? Yeah, yeah. And you get to hear me. Yeah, audible.

Kara Goldin 42:23
That’s terrific. You have a very nice voice. So that will be wonderful. And definitely it’s, it’s, you know, it’s a book, honestly, that really makes you think, right and makes it makes you think about the future, as well as people who are in it right now, like, how could we do things better with our organization. And I will say the other thing that I was thinking about as I was reading the book, too, even if you’re not the CEO, or you’re not a manager, I think that there’s having this idea of, you know, I was reading this book by Erica, and it’s really interesting, and showing it to your manager, showing it to, you know, the head of HR or whatever, why you thought it was interesting. I think that that is that just shows initiative that makes you look like you’re thinking right, and it it’s it’s definitely the kind of book that I could see that happening. So thank you so much, Eric. I really appreciate it. And thanks, everybody for listening. Okay, bye. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my book undaunted, which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at carob Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening