Once upon a time, people would go straight from school into a job, and they stay with the same organizations until they got their gold watches and could settle into nice retirement pensions. Employees knew where they stood within their organizations and they knew what was expected to get ahead in their careers.
The employment picture of the past has changed significantly. Today, Help Wanted signs are everywhere, from the local hamburger stand to the largest, most sophisticated organizations. Managers and supervisors are scrambling to find qualified employees in an ever-smaller labor pool, drained by low unemployment rates and an increased need for highly skilled workers.
If the competition for qualified employees is getting tougher, what alternatives does an organization have when a job opens up? They can spend more money recruiting and hiring. They can settle for workers with inadequate skills. Or, they can avoid turnover in the first place by retaining the productive workers they already have.
This is not as simple as it sounds. Throwing money at workers is not enough. Even though individuals want jobs that pay for their basic needs and regard their talents, there are other factors that have a stronger influence on their choice of employers. After all, talented workers can pick and choose.