About 40 percent of the nation’s workforce will change jobs during 2012, and that means employers should beef up their retention programs now, an expert on the subject said during remarks to business people last week while visiting the Central Coast.

The expert was Jack Smalley, director of human resources learning and development for Express Employment Professionals, a national company which has franchises in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Camarillo, and San Luis Obispo.

“Employees will take jobs for things, but stay for the people,” Smalley told about 25 business people at Riverbench Winery in Sisquoc on August 5. He delivered a similar presentation in Oxnard last week on “The Six Most Dangerous Retention Mistakes Most Companies Are Making.”

Smalley referred to the upcoming trend as “the turnover tsunami.”

He said the Society for Human Resources Management is predicting an employment crisis with up to 40 percent turnover because employees are not satisfied with their current jobs and Generation X and Y employees are ready to move on to greener pastures.

Smalley said these employees, born in the 1980s, are weathering their first recession. “You don’t lose bad employees in a recession,” Smalley said.

He said most companies’ human resources departments aren’t making employee retention a priority.

Smalley called for business owners to hold their supervisors accountable for keeping key employees. “Employees don’t quit jobs,” Smalley said. “They quit bosses.

A former 35-year Mobile Oil Co. employee, Smalley decried what he called “fear-based workforces.” He said managing by fear is a thing of the past and hurts employee retention. Fear means employees can’t contribute and makes them feel locked in, he said.

It is very important that businesses retain their information technology, or “IT,” employees, who are in high demand because of the value of data in this era. Data is what oil was in the 1980s and what plastics were in the 1960s, he said.

He urged businesses to “brand your hiring practices as much as you brand your company.” As an example, he pointed to the Hard Rock Café’s hiring motto: “If you’re searching for a place to rock out, work with the best in the industry, add value to the business, and mark your place in rock ‘n’ roll history, then select the opportunity that best fits your career path. This isn’t just a job; it’s a way of life.”

NAWBO-SB Summer Mixer

The Santa Barbara chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, or NAWBO-SB, will host its 2011 Summer Social: Islands Spectacular from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, at the Butler Event Center, at the corner of State Street and Hitchcock Way.

Appetizers from Marmalade Café, sangria and other wine from Pascucci Italian restaurant, signature cookies from Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, teeccino and teecinis from Teeccino Caffe, as well as NAWBO-SB goodie bags and raffle prizes will be offered. The cost is $25 and $10 more at the door. Reservations are requested by August 22. See nawbo-sb.org for more information.

The South Coast Biz Blog is a roundup of the latest business news in the Santa Barbara area and is written by Ray Estrada, who has covered business in the region for numerous publications over the past couple decades. See more at independent.com/biz and wordpress.com/southcoastbizblog.


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