The Dark Side of Employee Retention

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on September 16, 2009

Believe it or not, some employers still live in the dark ages and will use any idiotic tactic to retain their employees.   How do they do it?

Here are some examples:


When used effectively, fear is a powerful motivator to keep your best people in line.  However fear is a short lived technique and after a while there is a diminishing effect on employee retention.


Some bosses are big on intimidation.  Veiled threats that if someone leaves their job, then that person might receive a bad reference or even be “black balled” in the industry.

Ignorance to the truth.

A charismatic leadership feeds a bunch of lies and propaganda to employees who sometimes have t0 process conflicting information.  They know what they know.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Unkept Promises.

You are going to get a huge bonus, in fact we are probably going to make you the boss just as soon as the economy and cash flow gets back on track.” How many times do employers keep their key employees by unkept promises?  Well here is some sound advice to employers: never make a promise that you can not keep.  Your employees would rather here the sincere truth about their performance and the state of the business conditions.  Retain key talent by telling the truth- when asked. 

Proximity to Power.

Some employers use their power or significance to others as a key to employee retention.  We see this in the field of our political system.  Imagine working for the President of United States and having close proximity to the inner circle of world power.  How difficult it must be to resign from a position of much influence.  Being in the glow of a powerful leader is a powerful aphrodisiac that can lead to addiction of a job, especially if one is unhappy. 

The Dark Side of Employee Retention

In summary, there are dark techniques that employers have at their disposal to keep their key people.  Employees are vulnerable during vulnerable economic times.  One must never exploit this in the business world.

So employers: please use the golden rule as a guiding principle in your management style.  The carrot is mightier than the stick-John Wooden.

Unfortunately, evil is alive and well.

I am Bernie Reifkind, CEO and founder of Premier Search, Inc.  I can be reached at 1(800) 801-1400 or email at  I welcome your phone call.



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