Today’s galley slaves can jump ship

If you try to force productivity from your workers by beating the drum too fast, they will probably quit
By Brian Orr
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/07/2003

The war for talent is spreading in Canada beyond high technology jobs in major cities. Shortages of high quality staff are occurring in a growing number of professions and skilled trades. Increasingly organizations are finding that the ability to recruit and retain staff is becoming a limiting constraint on growth. In some professions the shortage of qualified candidates is becoming so acute that bidding wars are breaking out between employers.

As a consequence, staff retention has become the leading challenge facing many human resources departments. Retaining key staff is usually a far better investment than the cost of recruiting a replacement. Research has shown that one of the most significant reasons why employees leave an organization is to escape poor work environments.

If providing a good work environment for staff is so important, then why do so many organizations feel like galley ships? On Greek or Roman galley ships they would beat the drums faster and whip the crew more frequently to increase speed (performance). Far too often that is how organizations try to motivate workforces today.