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Is Employee Retention An American Fable?

Never before have US companies had a harder time keeping their employees ALIVE and PRESENT at work. Maybe this FREE Agent mindset people are talking about has some real perks for both sides of the equation.

I have been studying employment and work-place dynamics for over twenty years and one could say that I have seen my fair share of “best places to work” as well as, my fair share of “where is the excape hatch” places to work. If a hire is made and it is not a fit, then it is not a fit. However, if a person really gels with an organization and they leave anyway, it is typically because they outgrew the Manager and or outgrew the job.

The FREE Agent mentality can aid in reducing this unwanted turnover.

Today’s talent challenge is deafening many companies ability to compete for the very human resources that they need to move their business forward. The perfect storm has been brewing for almost twenty years and the lightening is paving the way for the supply side, yes CANDIDATES and EMPLOYEES to be in a power position. Astute companies know this and are revamping their Talent Acquisition Strategy to reflect the new workforce dynamics and the many alternatives to “full time” employment that we are all so accustomed to.

The convergence of four generations in the workforce, globalization, the aging population, and the virus called disengagement as well as the mass void of robust & thriving succession plans makes attracting and keeping the right people, even for the best Staffer, one hell of a challenge. Deploying a FREE Agent strategy could open up the talent pipleline and generate a whole new caliber of candidate.

While my grandfather kept the job at the railroad for 15 years, my grand-daughter most likely will have multiple jobs at once and chances are she will work on and off for many companies simultaneously throughout her career.

Lets talk about FREE Agents.

There are more FREE Agents of all types in the workforce today than any other time in our history.

One type of FREE Agent could be the independent contrator, an IC is motivated to put a stake in the ground to claim tax deductions, regain work-life balance, be in charge of their own destiny and generate multiple streams of income.

Another kind of FREE Agent is the new age full time employee who accepts the role for the purpose of advancing their career, this FREE Agent is all about getting in, learning, making an impact and moving up or moving out. Progressive companies are identifying these types of employees and populating their management training and rookie programs with these highly motivated, ambitious and yes uber impatient for growth employees.

And yet another kind of FREE Agent is a Consultant, getting paid as a W2 or 1099 who comes in to initiate and or lead a project, train the team and mentor the the team as they move the project forward. These Consultants are often called back to the company several times for several different types of initiatives and projects.

The sooner companies can get their arms around how to engage, deploy and leverage the FREE Agent the sooner they will open up their talent pipeline and receive the benefit of this whole new type of worker. To do that Hiring Managers, Staffing Managers and Business leaders will need to embrace the concept and re-think Employee Retention.

Top benefits of hiring FREE Agents

1. Meritocracy – FREE Agents enjoy being paid for performance

2. Highly specialized skills doing highly specialized jobs improves output

3. Great people never really leave the company

4. The talent pipeline is poplulated with a highly skilled, diverse pool

5. FREE Agents hang out with other FREE Agents and your referral network grows

As the the pendulum continues to swing on the side of the employee, progressive companies will allocate more and more marketing dollars to Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition strategies that attract people who will hopefully join the company for the right reasons; and hopefully find reason to stay or to boomerang while they are living their FREE Agent life.


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