erica keswin speaks on retention strategy


Managers: Rethink Your Retention Strategy

Your retention strategy is tried—but is it true? Here's how managers should be thinking about retaining talent moving forward.

Publish Date: September 6, 2023

Episode Length: 30 minutes

/ Resources / Podcasts / Managers: Rethink Your Retention Strategy

In this Episode

We interview workplace strategist, talk show speaker, and author, Erica Keswin. Listen in as Erica explains why and how managers should reimagine their retention strategy as the workplace shifts.


Beth Almes: 

Hi leaders and welcome back to the Leadership 480 Podcast. I'm your host, Beth Almes, and today we're talking about one of the hot topics that has just been hammering all of us for the past few years, and that's retention. And I'm going to give you a heads up that today's discussion isn't what you think. We're not going to be discussing how to be a nicer leader so your people aren't running away from you, although you should listen to our other episodes to work on that. But today, my guest is actually going to be encouraging us to change our mindsets about how we think about retention and what we really need to be doing to think about retention for the future and how that is changing. 

We are very lucky to have Erica Keswin here with us today. Erica is a bestselling author and workplace strategist, and you might have seen her on shows like Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Live with Kelly and Ryan to talk about her books, which are really changing the way we think about work. And the one I'm focused on today is her latest book, The Retention Revolution: 7 Surprising (and Very Human!) Ways to Keep Employees Connected to Your Company. It's brand new on the market and already causing some big waves. So, Erica, welcome to the Leadership 480 podcast. 

Erica Keswin: 

Well, thank you so much for having me. I've been really looking forward to it. 

Beth Almes: 

So, I want to start at the very heart of your big idea. Most of us operate based on the idea that stability is good for business and that's one of the reasons that retention matters so much, but you make the point that the very definition of the word retention—it's to keep, hold onto, possess—makes it sound like we're trying to control people and keep them down, make them do something they don't want to do. So have we got our thinking on retention all wrong. Is stability overrated? 

Erica Keswin: 

Well, yes and no. I mean, what I would say is that the world of work has just changed. Gone are the days where most people, probably 90 something percent of people are going to stay with one company their whole career, every year, move up a little bit in the corporate ladder and retire 50 years later with a plaque and a pension. So those days are few and far between. And so, with that brings some uncertainty and some fear and this feeling that we need to figure out how to hold onto people at all costs, kind of like the golden handcuffs, which is basically chaining people to the desk and trying to convince them to stay. 

And if people can stay, great, but another analogy is we're probably dating, we're probably not getting married. So, if we know that people are going to move around more, how can we change our thinking about retention, understand what people want and how to give it to them early and often. And when we do, they might stay six months longer, a year longer, five years longer. 

So, we do get that benefit and then when they tell us that they're going to move on, then we need to also think about retention differently, which is that we want to stay connected. Obviously, this is not if someone cheats or steals, but absent that, how can we change our thinking to instead of saying, you're dead to me, don't let the door hit you in the behind. Let's figure out a way to stay connected. And then work becomes more of this virtuous cycle and does in fact lead to growth for your employees and for you as a business. 

Beth Almes: 

I love your point on, you don't want to say you're dead to me once you leave the company. And that's really common, especially when you take it kind of personally, folks are leaving and you are stuck holding so much, especially as the leader, it's hard to say, "Oh, you left me in the lurch, you left me behind with all of this." So how do you recommend that leaders start to think differently about how they stay connected to their employees as they take off and go for what they think are greener pastures? 

Erica Keswin: 

Yeah, so there's a bunch of different ways to think about it. I mean, it's about off-boarding. You are basically off-boarding people. McKinsey, for example, when you become a consultant at any level, the first day of work, you become a member of their alumni community. So, from the beginning they're sending a signal that you're going to be part of this family regardless of how long you stay. So, it's everything from very formal alumni programs to a basic newsletter to a community event to invite people back. 

And I can't even remember now if it's in the book, but there's a small company in the book called Jellyvision, which is based in Chicago. And the CEO had a 10 year anniversary party to celebrate the company, and she said that 30% of the people showed up didn't even work there anymore. And even more interesting to me was that a bunch of the people that showed up were people she had to let go, but because she did it gracefully and because she stayed in contact, because she invited them to community events, they were there to support her and to support the company. 

And what we get when we stay connected from a business perspective and for the leaders listening, this could be thinking about this. If you're a leader of a team, if you're a leader of a department or if you're a leader of a whole company, that when someone leaves for potentially greener pastures, what we've been seeing is that many times they're not green, they're brown, and that all of a sudden they want to come back, boomerangs add a lot of value back to the company, they end up staying longer than the average employee. They already know the culture, they come up to speed more quickly. They might recommend friends and family to join the company and they could become your best brand ambassadors. So, it really is a win-win to try to change that thinking to stay connected. 

Beth Almes: 

So, the boomerangs is really interesting, especially as we come out of the era of the great resignation, and we see a lot more people kind of slowing down a little bit more job mobility. How often are you seeing that people are returning to their previous employers or are they referring back? Are you seeing that happen a lot more now? 

Erica Keswin: 

In the beginning of the pandemic and those first couple of years, we were seeing it a lot, that people left for these promises, and they just were not what they thought they would be. And many of them called the company back saying, I changed my mind. Interestingly, I just spoke with a leader at the company, O.C. Tanner, it's a recognition company, and one of the things that they did, and anybody listening to this could almost, if they get over this idea of you're dead to me could do this, she said that after things started to settle, they made a list of all of the people that had left, they were bummed, had left, and they called them and they called them and they said, "Hi Susie, how are you? We just wanted to let you know that if you ever decide that you want to come back, the door is open." 

And people said, "You know what? I kind of wanted to call, but I was nervous to call." And so just making that outreach, people were like, yeah, or you could say, "Hey, you know what? I know you left, but now there's a new role we thought you'd be perfect for." And so, we're seeing it both, people calling the company back saying it wasn't what I thought and or leaders saying we lost some great people and other than a little bit of time, it's really no skin off our back to make these calls to let people know that we would welcome them back. 

Beth Almes: 

That's such a wonderful idea. I can't say that I've seen that happen a lot, but I can see such value in acting with integrity and kindness towards those people. And I think a lot of times too, people do want to come back to their employer, but it's sort of like, Oh, what will they think of me if I say, oh, I want to come back now, they might think poorly of me. And you can be the one to swallow your pride and say, we would love to have you. 

Erica Keswin: 

Yeah, exactly. Why not? All the worst they could say is no, and they're not working there anyway. 

Beth Almes: 

A lot of times when we think about retention, we're so focused on the end state of like, how do I hold this person? How do I stop them from going? But one of the things that really struck me in your book that's a lot of managers should be thinking about is that retention starts before someone even accepts the job. So, before you're thinking about them leaving, it starts even in the interview process. So how should leaders rethink their focus on how they hire and onboard members to put retention in mind from the get-go? 

Erica Keswin: 

Yeah, so I love all the chapters, but I will say that intentional onboarding is so critical today, especially when in many organizations you're not onboarding face-to-face or you're hybrid or it might take a long time till you're actually all together in one room. 

And the idea around onboarding and how it links to retention is that you bring someone on with this promise of a role, with a promise of a company that lives its values, and why not let this person see the culture and see the values from day one or even before day one? And I'll give some really great examples of that. But I would also say a trend that I've been hearing about, and I don't have a study or any recent statistics on it, and it's in the podcast where I was listening to it. It was definitely more frontline kinds of workers. 

But what we've seen, and even with the layoffs that have gone on, there still is a war for top talent in many roles, that there have been companies now who've said that they've hired a person and gone through the whole process and then the person's supposed to start in a month and they get ghosted. The person literally doesn't show up. So that is a huge waste of everybody's time and a lot of money. 

So, to not have that happen when you are onboarding, you want to make sure that this person is connected, and this goes well beyond sending them a box of swag with a baseball hat, with a logo on it, which is certainly nice, but it's not particularly personal. So, one great example, David Siegel, who's the CEO of Meetup, and they have about 110 people. He talks about how when a person is hired, it does not matter what the role, he sends this person an email. 

"Dear John, we're so excited that you joined an XYZ position. This position is so critical because it helps us do these things." In other words, he's connecting each person's role to the purpose of the company. And that's what people want today, especially Gen Z who's taking over the workforce in very large numbers. They want to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. So taking that moment to say, we are so happy you're joining us, and by the way, your role is so critical. 

So that's one really fun example. None of it's rocket science, but if you're not intentional, it's not going to happen. Then you want to think about, you want the person's direct manager to reach out a hundred percent, as I'm sure you know in the work that you do, people lead managers, not companies. So that direct manager is so critical, but then also connect them with a buddy, connect them with a peer and introduce them to the employee resource groups. 

Maybe they want to tap in or really get a sense of the company well before they start. There's something called the 90-day role, that it really takes up to 90 days for someone to really kind of figure out the ins and the outs of the company. So, you not only want the first day and before the first day to be a great day for this person, but it's the first week and the first month and the first three months, and then after that you need to think about how do you re-recruit this person and remind them why they joined. 

Beth Almes: 

So that sense of connection in the workplace, connecting them with their peers and getting them buddies is a really interesting one, especially in the world of increasing remote work. And I've heard a lot of mixed feelings, by the way, about how remote work affects retention. There's a very good argument that if you don't offer remote work, people are going to leave as well as the very legitimate concerns as well that entirely remote cultures might struggle to build the loyalty and the connection and culture that creates long-term retention among great workers. So how do you think remote culture ties into retention? How does it change? 

Erica Keswin: 

In all of this? There is not one size fits all. There are some remote companies that have very strong cultures, but again, it goes back to being intentional. So if you have a company that's been distributed or remote and they get together four times a year for a week and you bond and you connect and it's strategic and you meet with all different kinds of people and then you find ways to support it for the rest of the year, that can work just as well sometimes, if not better than let's come in three to five days a week all the time. 

Because one of the things that I saw even when I wrote way back in 2018, when I wrote, Bring Your Human to Work, people were alone together. You and I could be under the same roof and never seeing each other and never talking to each other. 

People would call into meetings from down the hall. And so, then you come into the office, and you feel just as lonely and separated as if you were home. And so, every company's approaching it differently. But I would say there needs to be a plan. It needs to be intentional; it needs to be strategic. I would tell leaders there's a lot of anxiety built up around this topic. 

So, as you approach this, as you're making a change, as we get into September now four years into the pandemic, leaders are saying, okay, we're going from two days to three or we're going from three days to four. I'm seeing a lot of shifts right now. I would say approach the communication on these things through the lens of little bit to the extent that you're comfortable, your own vulnerability with it, a sense of empathy that this is not easy for employees. 

We've gone three steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, two steps back. I mean change has been hard, but the most important thing is to approach it through the lens of experimentation, telling people this may not be the end all be all. We are trying this out. We want feedback because people are walking around with their shoulders up in their ears when they talk about it, when they bring up this topic.

I think there's a lot of ways this can work. The last point that I'll make, and it's a very recent and timely one, just last week, Smuckers, the jelly company announced that really interesting office plan, and I hadn't seen this before, which I think they're based in maybe Ohio. And they said, "Okay, everybody live wherever you want, but these are the core weeks when you need to be in the office." 

So, if you live down the street, great. If you move to San Francisco, fine. If you're a hundred miles away, you just need to get here and you're paying for it. So, if you want to move somewhere else, completely fine, but these are the weeks that we will be together and also, I think leaders need to be willing to put a stake in the ground and they might have some retention because of it, but clarity is kindness. People want clarity and they want boundaries, and they know that they want some flexibility, but they also want connection. And managing those two isn't easy, but it's doable. 

Beth Almes: 

So, what I hear in that Smucker story is that while they did want people together, it seemed clear to me that they were prioritizing the culture. It's that we want you together. We want some time together and not; I don't trust you not to do your work at home. I need to be able to see you to ensure you're working. And it felt very different than what I see in other places where it feels a little bit more the latter of how can I be sure you're working if I don't see you at least three days a week.

Erica Keswin: 

That just hasn't worked. It's backfired. When people don't feel like their managers trust them, it will push them out the door. There's a funny anecdote. I just gave my first keynote for this book a couple of days ago, and I talk about flexibility and micromanaging. And during the pandemic, many companies put software on everybody's computer to track sort of whether or not they were working. 

And I don't know if you saw this, but there was something called a mouse jiggler, which was this contraption you could buy that you'd stick on your computer and whoever was tracking whether or not you were working, it would look like your mouse was moving, it would look like your computer was typing. And what I would say to those leaders, if you measure keystrokes, you will get keystrokes even if the person is not typing themselves. 

And so, we really need to think about trust and about how are we going to measure performance. And some people just don't want to put, obviously if you're selling widgets, that's easier, but it takes work to really think about how you want to measure performance. But this software tracking has been a disaster. 

Beth Almes: 

And I'm curious, there's still so much focus over hours logged or keystrokes and things like that. And as we see a shift that maybe goes towards results focused instead of like, hey, I don't care how many hours it takes you, but I need you to get these things done. Have you seen any of that go too far in the other direction? 

So, what I'm thinking on those lines is expecting results and not worrying about how much time it takes if the job is too big. So I need you to get these things done, and it's obviously going to take you 70 hours, or it takes you so much longer. Have you seen it come to that direction or not really? It's stayed that more results focused management has been more successful. 

Erica Keswin: 

I have seen the results be more successful because it's more concrete and it gets people on the same page. And I think it raises that level of trust. You are trusting me to get this done. Now, that's not to say a manager might not be okay with the person working at home 24/7 because there still are reasons to come together to connect, but it may not have anything to do with meeting that one very specific goal. 

There might be departmental goals and team goals and company goals and other reasons why we should come together in person. But I think a great starting point for people listening is figure out what you want your people to be working on and how you can measure that, and that will be a great first step. 

Beth Almes: 

I'm curious, so you mentioned flexibility very briefly in one of your answers, and I'm curious how far you think the retention revolution will push us in terms of flexibility of how we work. We're starting to see a little bit more flexibility in hours. I just saw a Wall Street Journal article about the ultimate power move is exercising during the day, choosing to work from home some or all of the time. 

But in your book, you document some companies that are really taking flexible work a lot further. So how do leaders need to start shifting their thinking about what flexible work really means for the team experience and what they can offer before it starts to feel like everything's just out of control

Erica Keswin: 

Right. So, I'd say a couple of things. One, when we think about flexibility in the book, I talk about we need to ace flexibility and to think about flexibility through the lens of autonomy, connection, and equity. So that's sort of a framework that I use in the book, that people want even a little bit of autonomy over their own life and over their own work. And people got a taste of that during the pandemic, and it's very hard for them to give all of that back up. 

The connection piece is some of what we've been talking about, which is, we need to design for connection. And then the last part is flex for all, it's equity. It's making sure that, and I can give some examples, but there are roles that now companies have figured out ways to make certain roles flexible that I don't think they would've gotten there maybe eventually, but not for many years had we not had the pandemic. 

So that's a framework by which to think about it. I will also say that this is not just the knowledge workers. That everybody, it's the flex for all piece. The title of this chapter is called It's not just for the Rich and Flexible, Lifestyles of the Rich and Flexible, it's that people want to have it. 

So, a couple of interesting examples. One is General Mills that they need to keep their cereal plants running 24/7 so they can have all the yummy cereal for us to eat. And when they started losing some people, they said, you know what? Maybe we can think about this differently. Maybe we can give our employees an opportunity to switch shifts with each other. Or maybe if we actually ask people what they want, we might find that Erica really just wants to work five somewhat regular shifts and be home at six o'clock for dinner with her kids and somebody else wants to work three days, really long days. 

And so, without having those conversations, you might really be able to design something that gives everybody a little bit of what they want. No one's ever going to get it a hundred percent. The other thing I'll say is before you jump in and create this plan of flexibility, you've really got to make sure you have an understanding of your workforce. I mean, where are they living? 

I had a company recently that said, okay, we're coming back three days a week. But they hadn't done enough research and due diligence to really find out that 20 something percent of their people had moved during the pandemic, COVID migrants. So, all of a sudden, those people couldn't come in three days a week. So, they're feeling disconnected and that they're missing out. And then the people that do have to come in are pissed because they're like, well, the other 20% doesn't have to come in. 

And so, before just coming up with a plan, make sure that this workforce plan is aligned with where your people are and your business strategy. And I had one company recently that put a stake in the ground and they're making people move back or they're saying, you know what? This isn't the right place for you right now. And then on the other end of the spectrum, we have the Smuckers example. 

And so, I'm not saying there's a right or wrong, but the loosey goosey not putting the stake in the ground, to your point, makes people start that this can really get out of control. But if you pick a side and approach it through experimentation, you leave open the right and the opportunity to still make a change. 

Beth Almes: 

I think that's very true and how managers start to think about it, especially if you've been someone who's always worked on much a very traditional schedule. And it's hard not to expect that from other people. And I wanted to think about that a little bit in the hiring process. A couple of things I've seen from managers. One is, you've probably seen too is, all the things saying, "Hey, I get offended when a candidate asks about flexibility or about PTO or anything like that in the interview process. Don't ask me about that before you have the job." 

Or they get upset if someone has moved jobs in the past multiple times, they say, "Hey, I can already tell this person is not going to stick around. I don't even want to talk to them." How do you think managers need to shift their thinking about criteria in the hiring process that's going to help them with that long-term retention? 

Erica Keswin: 

So, it's funny, and I would say as an older employee these days, I come in with that bias that, and I was an executive recruiter. If I looked at a resume and saw somebody that moved all over, I am wearing a red sweater right now, even though I know we're going to be just on audio. But that was a big, big old red flag, like I'm not going to touch this person with a 10-foot pole. 

I do think 10 years from now, we wouldn't even be having this conversation because people are approaching their careers much more as a portfolio. So, there would be, okay, well of course she left. She left for a more interesting opportunity. You might do a reference and find out the person wasn't a good performer, but you wouldn't go in necessarily with this bias that I think many of us have. 

So, knowing that is sort of one step in that direction, clearly having the person go through the resume. I had a leader the other day say that when she's looking at resumes and she clearly comes in with this bias, she admitted it. She said, "Look, I just asked them, what did you learn in each of these roles? Give me a sense of what you learned and how did you think about what this next role would add and compliment where your career was going." I mean, you want to get the story behind it, but I think it will take a while. I think it will take a while to get there. For people to be like, "Oh, this is so normal to have 20 jobs on a resume." 

Beth Almes: 

Yeah, it's hard to adjust that thinking. If they left them, they're going to leave me too kind of thing. They're only going to stick around for six months, and I can't handle that. 

Erica Keswin: 

Yeah, a hundred percent. I think that there is this shift to the onus becomes on the company to provide, and I'm sure we'll talk about it, but one of my other favorite chapters in the book is the chapter on learning and professional development and the fact that we need to develop people up, down and sideways and that somebody might say, "Well, I moved because this company wasn't giving me the opportunity to grow." 

And so instead of looking at it saying, "Oh, well this person's going to leave me." Well, okay, if I know that people want some autonomy and flexibility, if I know they want managers that really care about them as whole people, and if I give them an opportunity to grow, that will raise the chances that we will have a longer-term relationship. So, it takes two sides to tango here. 

Beth Almes: 

I loved that part of the book. I mean, obviously we do a lot of learning, so I was like, this is preaching to the choir on my end of, but I love the phrase you had of it's a variation of if you love them, let them leave and it becomes, if you love them, let them learn. But what I really thought was interesting about your point around learning is that I think it makes sense to a lot of managers of letting them learn related to their job. 

But you talked about it doesn't have to always be learning that's directly related to what they're doing. It doesn't always have to have an immediate ROI. And I think that's very different mindset to get in. If somebody says, I want to spend time learning, and as their manager, I'm like, well, you can't spend work time on things that I don't see the ROI on. So why do you think leaders should shift their thinking about the time people spend learning if it's not directly related to the job? 

Erica Keswin: 

Well, a Deloitte survey recently found that companies with a learning culture have retention rates 30 to 50% higher. So, there are real bottom-line implications. And Gen Z in very recent new Gallup study found that even more than compensation, Gen Z wants to learn and grow and develop. So, I think the data is exceedingly clear on this front. I also think that with all of the technology that we have today, people are working actually longer hours. They want flexible hours, but they go home and then they're working at night. 

And when you think about learning and developing, where people will lean into it and actually take advantage of it the most is to have these learning opportunities during the workday. If you as a company show that you value this, then you need to kind of put your money in training dollars where your mouth is and let people do it during the workday because it is part of work. 

I think gone are the days, especially because people are working longer hours, Microsoft found tracking their Microsoft teams hours, the third shift that people would work in the morning, take a break, work in the afternoon, and then they're working at night. And so, because of that, we need to say, if this is important, we are going to build it into the workday because we want to show you that that is a critical part of your job. So that's sort of one answer to the question. 

The second though is that the way I structure this chapter in the book is, there's three things to think about with learning. One is early and often with no strings attached. And that's also a big shift in thinking where back in the day, if somebody paid for you to get a certification or go back to school for an MBA, I went full-time, but a lot of people went part-time for their MBA, that you kind of owe them, then you come back and if you're doing your MBA part-time, you need to then stay for X amount of years. 

I am seeing a shift where it's like, you know what? The reason why I was here for the last three years is because you were paying for my education. So that's a shift. The second piece is having conversations to help people move up, down and sideways. And that's really saying, you know what? There might be people who don't need to go up. They might be happy to take a lateral or maybe something a personal circumstance changed, and they actually would be open to taking a step back. And I've seen that a lot. 

The third one though, is what I think you were getting at, which is taking professional development personally and some very forward-thinking companies are saying, you know what? We just want to help people grow as people, so maybe take a class to increase your technical skills, but if we're giving you a stipend and you want to take an improv class to help you become a better public speaker or better in a sales role, or, I had Cara Allamano, who's the head of HR now at Lattice and before was at Udemy. She talked about during the pandemic, she actually took a class on Aristotle and Plato and totally unrelated, but when she was thinking, it enabled her to think about her work differently and gave her this fresh perspective. 

Some people might think this is a bit of a leap, but I will say, just keep an open mind that if you want to create a learning culture, maybe you could be more open about what people learn. I have another company that does a book club, and the book club is fiction. And what that does is it connects people and they all come and talk about the book, and people get to know each other in a different way. 

Beth Almes: 

I think that's amazing. And I remember reading this part of the book, maybe my mouth was hanging open a little bit with shock. Some of the stories, I remember reading one about somebody at American Eagle and they had someone on their team who wanted to study to be a Sommelier, and they supported them, they're like, "Hey, leave early three days a week to go do that, go work remotely in Spain." 

And this person ultimately left, but the manager was absolutely thrilled about it. And I was like, man, that is taking learning culture to an amazing degree. And the fact that they were honestly at the end, the manager was happy about it, just kind of blew my mind. I'm amazed about the direction this is going in now. When you interviewed, if you talked to American Eagle about that, do they have a strong learning culture? Is that just a part of who they are? 

Erica Keswin: 

Yeah, well, it's a combination of both. Some of these are really part of who the company is, and I have interesting examples of that. And sometimes it's the individual manager that says, wow, I get it. And that's what's cool I think about the book and about these topics, is that great if you do it at a company-wide basis and everybody is aligned, the flip side is you also want to retain people in your own team, in your own department that if this is something that you really care about, you will have a direct impact within the group. 

And then I would say from an organizational perspective, if I had a company right now, I would be elevating and celebrating my managers who have done a really good job of training people and giving them internal mobility. And again, even if some of them do end up leaving. So, I think it's all of the above. It's very personal. 

Beth Almes: 

So that's a great point around elevating managers. And I'm curious if you think managers are kind of having a moment right now as all of this is changing and your role is shifting so much towards this talent development person and thinking so differently about the people on your team, how do you think what you call The Retention Revolution is going to affect the role of the leader? What changes? If I really embrace this philosophy? 

Erica Keswin: 

I mean leaders and managers, it's never been a harder time to be one, I would say especially these frontline managers, that role is so critical. You're getting information from the top, you're the ones on the front lines, you're the ones trying to implement and hold people accountable for the flexible work. And you're the one that's dealing with a lot of the mental health issues and the loneliness and isolation, all the things that have gone on over the past number of years. 

The flip side is that this really is an opportunity from an organizational standpoint to really upskill managers and leaders and give them tools because many don't have the training to manage in this way that employees have come to expect over the last couple of years. 

So, I think that role, if you're listening to this and you're a senior leader and you're figuring out where to go from here in a lot of these topics, investing in those frontline managers right now is I think a very important place to start. And you will see your retention go up because again, people leave those managers, they leave their direct managers, 

Beth Almes: 

And if you are a frontline manager, you know Erica clearly values you. So, a little kudos to you, a pat on the back. 

Erica Keswin: 

Oh my gosh. It is for sure. 

Beth Almes: 

So, we've talked about a lot today. There's a lot in the book, there's a lot of concepts that really affect the way you think about retention. Think about your team, what you're trying to achieve. If you had one thing you want leaders to really take away from this conversation about The Retention Revolution, what would that be? 

Erica Keswin: 

Gosh, one thing, I guess what I would say is I would start, it's funny, I am wearing this sweater right now that says, "Start as you mean to go on," which is what the first chapter is called Start as You Mean to go Onboarding. And I just think I love that phrase, and I think whatever piece of this retention revolution you decide that you want to lean into and make some progress and headway around, think about doing it from day one and think about how you can incorporate your values and start as you mean to go on. I just think that the beginning and even before the beginning is so critical. 

Beth Almes: 

I love that red thread throughout the book of, in many ways the integrity of the leader from the moment they start all the way through to the moment they leave, you maintain that integrity, that great relationship. It was a beautiful piece throughout the book. So, the last question I have for you is one that I ask all of our guests on the show. Can you share with me a moment of leadership that changed your life or your perspective, whether it was a really great leadership experience or a bad one that made you say never again, let's go in a different direction. 

Erica Keswin: 

Sounds kind of embarrassing, but I guess- 

Beth Almes: 

Oh, even better. 

Erica Keswin: 

It is on my mind. So, I was in consulting for a number of years, and I was junior and kind of coming up the ranks and taking on more responsibility. And I remember my manager at the time said to me pretty directly that I needed to just be more, it was almost like show up in a more professional way. And part of it was, even what I was wearing. And thinking about, and maybe this now would be very different, and I talk about dressing for success in the book and how now many more things are open in terms of people having tattoos and different kinds of things. 

But this idea of how you show up and getting a sense of the culture that you're in and the environment that you're in, and really matching how you're showing up to that environment. Because that environment that I was in was a pretty conservative one and I was young and just trying to figure it out as I went. 

And while it was really hard to hear and I was mortified, I never forgot it, and really thought twice about just making sure that I showed up in a really professional way. That if I was the one whose job it was to be taking the notes, I had a notebook and I was organized and I was ready and really thinking about the role that I was going to take on. 

And I think something like that will always be important, but especially now as I would say for younger people as you might only be going into the office twice a month or three times a year, how are you showing up and interacting with people, with clients, with customers, with your peers, with your boss? So, it was just something that really stuck with me. 

Beth Almes: 

Yeah, it's almost like showing up with purpose and intention. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to wear suit every day, but are you coming the way you want to be perceived by the people around you? 

Erica Keswin: 


Beth Almes: 

Is a fabulous lesson to take from this. And Erica, our whole conversation today was really valuable, so I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and for all of our leaders listening. Thank you very much. 

Erica Keswin: 

Well thank you and look forward to listening in when it comes out. 

Beth Almes: 

And thank you to our listeners who took part of their 480 minutes to be with us today. And remember to make every moment of leadership count.