In celebration of the launch of the 5th edition of the international best-selling book on engagement and retention, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, we are pleased to have a guest post by authors Sharon Jordan-Evans and Beverly Kaye, Founder of Career Systems International.

TOP TEN PUSHBACKS by Sharon Jordan-Evans and Beverly Kaye (S&B)

The managers we meet ask us dozens of tough questions. They also challenge our thinking and push back on our recommendations. Here are some of our favorite conversations about our favorite topic – how to engage and retain your talent!


Manager:  I’m working harder than ever before and frankly I don’t have time for this stuff.

S&B:  If you don’t have time for this, how will you find time to recruit, interview, select, orient and train your talented employees’ replacements?


Manager: My organization is old-fashioned. We don’t do what more modern companies are doing to engage and keep people. If we don’t have a gym, day-care center or concierge service, how can we hope to compete?

S&B:  Check out the research ( regarding why people stay.  It’s not about the gym! It is about: exciting, challenging or meaningful work; a good boss; being recognized, valued & respected; career growth, learning & development; and a flexible work environment. Deliver on those and on the unique requests from each person and you’ll keep ‘em.

#8 — WIIFM? (What’s In It for Me?)

Manager:  After hearing you speak about the Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em approach to management, it feels like you’re asking me to give, give, give. What do I get, get, get?

S&B:  Great question! What you get, get, get is a team of dedicated, hard-working, productive people who will stick around for a while. Your efforts are not accommodation or pampering. They are ways to meet your business goals.


Manager:  You say money isn’t the big deal for engaging and retaining talent.  Come on – some people really are out after the buck aren’t they?

S&B:  Yes. And if you’re trying to hire and keep those strictly out for the buck, good luck. There will always be a higher bidder. Find out what each talented employee really wants.  Then do your best to deliver that!


Manager:  I am who I am – and I’ve made it this far because of it. Why should I change?

S&B:  Only consider changing if you want more:  more fun at work, productivity from your team, meaningful relationships, talented people sticking around longer.


Manager:  How do I get rid of the ones I wish would go?

S&B:  The manager who asked us this said we needed a sequel to Love ‘Em and we should call it How to Lose Your Losers.  Stay tuned, we might.  Meanwhile, you do need to do something about your losers. Your talented people are watching to see how and when you do that. Performance-manage those who aren’t delivering. Mentor them, coach them, get them some help. If none of that works, help them move on.


Manager:  I don’t believe in catering to one generation just to keep them on the team.

S&B: In this market you’ll need to “cater” to every talented person you hope to keep.  We talk about generational differences not to single one out, but to help managers understand each group a little better. That understanding helps you engage and keep talented people – a little while longer. Ultimately, you’ll need to get to know each member of your team, regardless of generation (or gender or ethnicity).  Find out what each wants and what will keep them. Then do your best to deliver.


Manager:  Aren’t we all replaceable?

S&B:  Sure, but at a cost – sometimes a very large cost. A cavalier attitude toward employees as dispensable translates to “I don’t care if you go or stay.”  People want to know they matter to you, that they’re actually very hard to replace and that you don’t want them to leave.


Manager:  My company rewards delivering results – not being a nice guy.  That’s why I focus on results.

S&B:  Let’s face it, without the results you won’t be employed for long. Without a dynamite team of people, you won’t get the results. ‘Nuf said.

#1 – IT’S NOT “ME”

Manager:  If I tried this stuff on my employees they’d fall over in a dead faint.  I don’t even say “hi” in the hallway.

S&B:  You might want to ease into this then. Start by saying “hi” in the hallway.  It’s true that much of what we advise you to do to engage and keep talent depends on your already having a trusting relationship with those people. And, paradoxically, it’s in doing those things that you build trust.  Start where you’re most comfortable and try one thing. Then try another.

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay provides twenty-six strategies to keep talented employees happy and productive. In addition to updating and revising all information for the fifth edition, the authors have included more international stories and statistics. Available January 2014 on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!

Download the first two chapters here.