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This employee retention speaker and employee retention author was listening to a radio advertisement that cites the 5 biggest obstacles that CEOs see to growth in their business.  One item that is on the list is the recruitment and retention of talent.  They then go on to talk about how their software can solve those problems.  Software? Really?  I hope the listeners of this ad are smart enough to realize that recruitment and employee retention are PEOPLE problems and it is people that are going to solve the problem…not some software program.

Software has its place in the tracking of turnover.  But who gets the data that goes into the software?   The manager or the HR person who does the exit interview.  They have skills that are people oriented and require quite a bit of expertise.  A software program does not conduct the exit interview.  Not handling an exit interview properly can result in the departing employee shutting down so you don’t get the data you need.  Garbage in, garbage out.

Software can make it easier to classify reasons for departure so that you can get a feel for the big picture of why people are leaving.  That being said, one data point in a mass of information might be overlooked as critical if it is not for the astute HR person who picks up on the reason, analyzes the information and reaches conclusions that can be immediately acted on to impact business decisions.  That is the difference between people solving retention issues and some software program.

The other problem with data like this is that it’s after the fact.  This employee retention speaker is more optimistic about some of the analytics that tell us that people may be thinking about leaving.  The key then becomes timeliness.  Someone has to analyze the data in a timely manner and act on it.  That is an HR person or a department leader and these people need to be given the time to do those things instead of some of the other minutia that I see organizations dumping on their leaders.

Don’t get me wrong, data has its place and I would go so far as to say I am a data driven person.  The danger we run into is that data is not THE answer.  Data is a tool in the process and we are doing ourselves a disservice by saying “software solves it all.”  Employee retention is a people problem that needs people to solve it.