It is with some degree of amusement that I frequently hear our politicians in Washington, D.C. or from various State Houses’ say that we need to create more jobs.

Yet talk to those working in the manufacturing and service industries and you will hear they can’t find people who want to work. Drive through virtually any community and there are more “help wanted” signs including “open interviews today” signs than political signs in November. There is a litany of reasons behind this, but bottom line is that everyone is hiring.

So it then goes without saying it is very challenging to hire good quality candidates that are likely to stick around. In fact, it has reached the point that it is all too common to hear operations people, as well as some HR people, simply say, “Just hire me a warm body.”

I find this statement to be one of the most derogatory and demeaning statements any organizational leader could make. Yet offensive or not, it is a sign of our time. This statement is repeated many times daily throughout the industries that depend on unskilled/semi-skilled employees to get the required work completed. Unfortunately, when the employment process gravitates to this level, “warm bodies” are exactly what organizations get.

When this happens, employment standards are lowered and this self-fulfilling prophecy takes precedence: Employees will quit anyways and so until proven otherwise we will invest only the minimum resources in them.

This ultimately leads to many of them leaving, and the downward cycle continues. If any of this sounds familiar you are not alone, and in fact you are in the vast majority. But recruiting woes are only part of the equation.

Depending on the business sector, each industry has a typical turnover or attrition norm. It is also common that many organizations judge their attrition rate against this norm, which in itself begs a serious self-reflection.

When looking at attrition over the past few years most organizations, and especially those in the lower quartiles of pay, have seen the attrition numbers hit all time highs. For some, the numbers are staggering, creating a multitude of organizational challenges ranging from safety and increased cost, to the quality and delivery of services or products. The much more difficult-to-remedy decrease in morale among employees, is frequently a missed yet highly impactful challenge as well.

The turnover rates, including those within the staffing industry, have created a virtual vortex within organizations where everyone is running ragged and systems, policies, and programs are being aborted simply for the sake of getting the necessary work completed. Communication is eroded and the feeling of being valued, appreciated and cared about is almost nonexistent. All of which are symptoms of the current employment dilemma where the employees become the victims. Again, if this sounds familiar you are not alone. Yet rarely do I ever hear organizations discuss retention, as an equal culprit to poor recruiting.

Tim A. Garrett is a consultant, author, speaker and founder of Diversified Performance Solutions, LLC. DPS was founded on the principles of business ethics, personal integrity and value creation. We welcome the opportunity to work with quality organizations of any size or line of business that want to create positive change to enhance competitiveness and employees’ work environment. Tim can be reached at For more information, visit