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How to retain people at work

Job-Part of Life Cycle

While meditating on the issue of retaining and attracting people, I realised, that every organisation in every industry is facing the similar problem in the background of this truth, that the world is fast changing, it is becoming flat, and people are exposed to so much information that knowledge can be acquired by anyone and at anytime (smart people are utilising it for good), work life cycle is decreasing, “Work Life Cycle”. In the given situation like this one, retaining and attracting people is a major challenge indeed. (We are assuming all are talented people with college education, who are evolving fast).

In the scenario where expectations are high on both sides’ i.e. prospective happy employees and prospective happy companies, how to keep balance is the question.

I will take side of the happy workers because I like them.

One way to find a solution is by asking what are the needs, wants and motivations of an employee through the various stages of his work life cycle and how can it be mapped.

Before we go ahead…an important trend we all are seeing and hearing is “People Need Work and Life” i.e. work and life balance and another trend we’ll see in next 15 years, is the shift in the way people will look at work, change in the attitude.“Work Is Part Of Life”and not life.

At present we will be mostly focusing on how to balance needs and motivations with “Work & Life” through the various stages of our happy workers work life cycle. (In the scenario were working life is declining)

Find above, a simple chart, these are needs apart from equal pay & opportunities. no political work environment and a hygienic work environment.

Chart: C1– Curve one is a 20 yrs life cycle
C2– Curve two is a 10 yrs life cycle

In stage one our happy workers look for:
Learning (initial 1-4 yrs): To acquire soft skills, people skills, technical/professional skills, mastering ones subject or chosen field, independence to think and act, developing managerial skills.

Basic motivations: Wants to acquire needed skills and then wants to implement / demonstrate them to validate the learning (unlearn and learn from mistakes).

What he wants from happy HR people: Training (not the class room type), nice and encouraging boss, opportunities to demonstrate skills, environment where mistakes are seen positively….

In stage two our happy workers look for:
Growth (3-9yrs): To acquire various challenging work experiences and greater responsibilities. They also seek respect, status, money, independence to think & act, acquiring/updating knowledge & developing leadership skills.

Basic Motivation: Wants to acquire experience in the chosen area/subject/field and validate them by learning new skills (unlearn and learn from mistakes), Better standard of living, indulgence in luxury and savings.

What he wants from happy HR people: Give me five reasons, what would he want?

In stage three our happy workers look for:
Stability (10yrs+): Sharing experiences and mentoring, Authority, Challenges (e.g: leading the company), acquiring/upgrading knowledge and developing/identifying management style.

Basic Motivation: Exploring new avenue to grow personally, sustaining the Job and standard of living.

What he wants from happy HR people: Give me five reasons, what would he want?

HR is not my area of expertise, I came across the issue of people management from HR perspective only because my client/the account i handle needs solutions on attracting and retaining talent. So, please do incorporate your views on how to make more happy workers and happy organisations.

BA Cookie is a new generation gourmet cookie brand based in Bangalore creating products for a healthy and indulgent lifestyle for everyone who like fine things in life.

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  • Hi Bhuvan, I think happiness in work is directly related to the influence that one has, or how well you are listened to. If a worker feels that he or she has influence to impact positive change, then that person will be a happy worker. Interesting point around “no political work environment” I have rarely come across a working environment that wasn’t political to highly political, it may be unfortunate but in my opinion it is a fact of life for most people?

  • Hi Bruvan,

    This is spot-on, although I guess it can deviate dependant on opportunity, ambition, training etc.
    We have expectations based on experience. What I find interesting and controversal is the time we reach the ‘mentoring’ state. Value of knowledge combined with self-confidence dicates the point we feel we reach this stage – I’ve seen people in an industry five mins who liken themselves to a pro. At what stage do we stop learning ? the answer – never. We continually grow and improve, but we can share our learning experiences throughout these stages.
    Thanks for an insightful read. Human social behaviours and trends are definately a fave….keep em’ coming!

    @ Niall – You’re right, politics does feature. In some cases to the point of ruin ; 0 (

  • Hi Sylvain,  It makes perfect sense that while relationships may be hugely important, good business logic remains as important in Asia as it is anywhere else. The danger as you’ve highlighted – because we hear so much about the importance of relationships, we have to be careful, not to fall into the trap of thinking that this is sole aspect of being effective there. Welcome to TYB!

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