Lifestyle Reviewing Retention in the New Work World

Reviewing Retention in the New Work World

By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC

Help-wanted signs are posted everywhere you look these days, from the fast-food drive-thru windows to C-suite offices. Between unprecedented talent shortages and the seemingly never-ending “Great Resignation,” it was refreshing to talk in the same day to two happy, long-tenured employees I placed many years ago who are now in management positions. One had been with the company 14 years and the other nine.

They were talking to me on this day in order to hire people at their companies because of expansion projects. I decided to dig deeper and find out from these happy employees as well as employers what has contributed to their long-term satisfaction so that I could help those who might be struggling with retention.

Statistics abound about how the nation has witnessed an exceptional number of workers quitting their jobs pre- and post-Covid. These numbers are too high to blame solely on a tightening labor market. Let’s take a look at four things I gleaned from my investigation and how they might give us a new perspective on retention that might benefit employers as well as prospective employees in the New Work World.


1. Feeling Valued

Both of the candidates I had placed many years ago who are now in upper-management roles detailed how their management team made them feel valued. Whether they were acknowledged at a dinner with their boss and co-workers for a good job done, a professional conference they attended as a company representative, or a quarterly event at which their accomplishments were recognized, time was devoted to making sure these people felt appreciated and valued. One also reported how greatly he appreciated employees going the extra mile and coming in early, staying late or working through lunch on a project when the team was short-handed. He went on to say when employees’ efforts increase the bottom line, promotions often come more expeditiously, and that truly is a win-win for all parties!

When candidates are interviewing at a new company, it might be interesting to inquire about retention there. One employer told me the average rate of tenure was 18 years. That tells me they certainly are doing something right!


2. Flexibility

This global trend is a new friend to recruiters! Many people got used to working remotely during the Covid pandemic and saw some benefits. They might turn down good offers of significantly more pay if there is no flexibility of skills or time. For example, insisting on exact software skills – versus those that are similar to other programs and easy to learn – might be holding employers back from great new pools of workers. If a person has industry experience and valuable contacts to bring to the table, a tutorial or cross-training of a computer program might be worthwhile rather than holding firm to a skillset. One of the employees whom I had placed many years ago shared how he and his wife can have lunch together during the week because of his ability to work remotely one day a week; he really values and looks forward to being away from the kids and having some “us time!”


3. Competitive Packages

Competitive compensation and benefits packages are attractive hooks to keep employees reeled in. It’s not only about the base salary, but the perks as well. One of the employees told me company-hosted events that he can bring his family to or outside activities where he can engage with his customers goes a long way. He enjoyed attending an Astros game with a customer and said catching that “trophy fish” at the company-sponsored fishing tournament brought so much relationship-building as well as fun times with co-workers. These events made him want to come into the office and be more productive to show his gratitude and appreciation for the experiences he relished and didn’t have to pay for!


4. An Evaluation of Work-Life Balance

The gentleman I placed 14 years ago related that his son had an early Friday baseball practice. His boss allowed him to leave the office early to work with the coaches. He told me this understanding of work-life balance meant a lot to him – if he had to go into the office on a Saturday occasionally, he was happy to do it because he wanted to make sure his boss knew he appreciated him offering this “work-life” balance.


The other employee mentioned how having a booth at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo allowed him to invite valuable customers to the event while his wife and parents also could attend – another win-win.

One of my favorite experiences of being a recruiter has always been to hear stories of how a person has grown personally and professionally from a job I placed them in many years ago. For an employer to invest in the development of the employee and the employee to give back and show gratitude is a perfect demonstration of qualities that lead to strong retention.

For the remainder of this year, consider how these five assets – feeling valued, flexibility, competitive packages, and an evaluation of work-life balance – might have a bearing on your retention efforts in the New Work World. Many other ingredients have been incorporated in the recipe for retention, but I thank these two long-tenured employees and managers of companies to share their experiences for your consideration.

Finding good people is one thing. Keeping good people is more and more challenging these days. Let’s all be determined to prioritize retention to revel in the rewards of happy employers and employees!


Mary Ann Faremouth 

Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze,  Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (

Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business.  Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.

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