A Word on Management Success From the 'Retention Evangelist'

ByABC News
June 11, 2001, 5:09 PM

June 5 -- The Corner Office column that debuted this spring on ABCNEWS.com has offered working and aspiring managers a rung-by-rung guide to climbing the corporate ladder. The column, based on the new book, The Boss's Survival Guide, comes via ABCNEWS.com columnist Bob Rosner of Working Wounded fame, and two workplace expert colleagues. This week, Rosner steps back from his usual weekly offering to answer questions about the column and the book.

ABCNEWS.com: What is a retention evangelist?

Rosner: Today, managers are scrambling to deal with the economic downturn. But tomorrow, long after this downturn is history, they'll be left with a huge talent problem. That's because 76 million baby boomers are getting ready to retire.

Do you know what that means for the work force? Seventy-six million boomers replaced by only 44 million Gen Xers means we'll have 32 million fewer workers. That kind of numbers shift seriously changes the power equation in the workplace. It means talented workers will be harder to come by. It means workers will be able to choose where they want to work. And it means managers will have to work much harder to retain their top talent. Retention will be the name of the game.

Walking Through a Minefield

Question: How much power do managers have in terms of retention?

Rosner: Enormous power. Think about it hasn't a boss ever made you quit a job? Or kept you in one? Fifty percent of workers cite the boss as the No. 1 factor in job retention.

Question: Doesn't that put a lot of pressure on bosses?

Rosner: Yes, in addition to all the other pressures they feel. This is probably the toughest time ever to be a boss. That's why we decided to write The Boss's Survival Guide. Between people challenges, compliance challenges and competitive challenges, bosses are walking through a minefield. We wanted to create a comprehensive, easy to use and fun to read tool that would help them survive.

Question: What are some of the issues you cover in the book that will also appear in The Corner Office columns?