Should Your Goal be to Retain Employees?

With the great turnover companies, ministries, and churches are experiencing during the pandemic period, retention has really tested my resolve as a leader. When I meet with other CEOs, retention seems to currently be the greatest point of pain for them as well. Known as the Great Churn, turnover is at an all time high. LinkedIn reports that more than 50% of people who have been at their job for three months or less are actively seeking a new job. Even when given more time to settle in, many still want to leave. Nearly 60% of people in new roles for three to six months are looking to make a move. 

Management guru Peter Drucker prophesied that in a knowledge economy, the greatest challenge would be retaining knowledge workers, specialized thinkers, and practitioners. However, I’ve recently been theologically challenged to understand that our priorities must be different. 

At the end of the day, our primary outcome should not be organizational growth but Kingdom expansion. With that in mind, what if we thought about the development of people measured not in how many we can retain but in how many we can give away? 

OneHope has always believed in building a large robust funnel of development, particularly for the next generation. There’s been a level of frustration even within the organization because we produce more trained young leaders than the organization has capacity to hang on to financially or positionally. However, I also established a new vision statement in 2009 to catalyze a movement to reach every child in each generation with Jesus and His Word. This was a prophetic and intentional shift from OneHope being an organization that feels incumbent to reach every child and young person with God’s Word ourselves and to, instead, see that our role is to equip and empower the global Church to take responsibility and be effectively resourced and empowered to fulfill the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. If this is my primary metric of success, then I have to think about human resource development not in terms of retention but release. 

If the greatest asset on our balance sheet is people, then the height of generosity needs to be free to release people into Kingdom enterprise and celebrate our role in developing them while they’re with us to their full potential. Perhaps the outcome we need to be measuring is how many great leaders we have given away rather than how many we have kept.  

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Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 1.8 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.

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