Do You Know Your ‘‘Poach Rate?’’

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If you still think retention is mainly about money, find out how much

it is costing your competition to get people to leave you. That’s called

your ‘‘poach rate.’’ If your poach rate is less than 20 percent, it ain’t

the money, honey! People who love their work, love their boss, and

love their company don’t leave unless the offer is coming from the

Godfather.

—John Putzier5

Several studies have also shown that, in general, salespeople are more

money-motivated than most other workers. And, at the other end of the

spectrum, we all know individuals whose loyalty to their employer, or to

their manager, is so strong that they have turned down increases of 30

percent or more because they could not imagine being treated better, or

finding a more satisfying job, elsewhere. Indeed, we can find plenty of

these people happily employed at America’s top employers of choice.

In reviewing survey comments about pay from both leavers and stayers,

it is striking how few comments have to do with the actual amount of

salary, bonus, or other incentive. Rather, the key issue seems to be fairness,

or the lack thereof. Employees seem to be frustrated about pay because

they have observed what they consider several kinds of inequities:

Superior performance reviews have little effect on pay increases.

Experience is discounted when new hires are paid as much as veterans.

Higher education levels do not translate into higher pay levels.

Increasing stress and aggravation aren’t worth the money.

More and more hours make the pay worth less and less.

As Michael Kelly commented:

‘‘What is most disturbing about these beliefs is that they fly in the face

of an employee’s desire to know and understand the formal and informal

rules for attaining higher pay levels—performance, experience, education,

willingness to sacrifice and undergo hardships. If these factors

are not linked to increases in pay, they ask, then what is? Pay policies

and practices that do not encourage and support employee commitment

present obstacles that even the most capable supervisor will find

formidable, if not impossible, to deal with.’’6