When is it bad news that the economy is picking up?

Today an Associated Press article reported how more people quit their jobs in the last three months than were laid off. This is great news for the economy as it means people are confident about getting a new job — or they’ve already secured a new job.

So how could this be bad news?

It’s not bad news for the individuals, nor for their new companies.

However, it could be bad news for your organization.


In down economies, people don’t move around as easily as they do in good economies. There are fewer opportunities to move, so they stay put. However, they may be unhappy where they are, even if they continue to have healthy output. They have checked out at work — quit while still showing up for the job. They keep up with their work as they don’t want to give any excuse to fire them, but their heart and passion aren’t into it anymore.

Meanwhile, they are submitting resumes, praying and hoping for a new position. And when they do get an offer, they’ll be gone — and if they’re your top people in sales or service, perhaps your best customers will follow them.

What can you do to stem the inevitable tide?

You can give your key staff what they crave, which in many cases is a chance to grow. Many companies have put any professional development opportuninites on hold during the downturn. Yet top performers are constantly looking for ways to improve their skills, as they know that’s the ticket to more interesting projects, promotions and more money.

You say you don’t have any budget for professional development? Do you have budget for recruitment costs and training your key staff’s replacements? How about the loss of productivity when these folks leave and there’s no one with the same skills to fill their spot? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to find some ways to keep them learning without spending a bundle? If you’d like a list of 12 inexpensive ways to develop your key talent, just email me and I’ll send you the chart, including typical costs for each.