What do you think were Ken’s satisfaction with and commitment to the job and firm he is leaving?

Good people—valuable employees—quit their jobs every day. Usually, they leave for better
positions elsewhere. Take Ken, an experienced underwriter in a northeastern insurance company,
who scribbled the following remarks on his exit interview questionnaire: This job isn’t right for
me. I like to have more input on decisions that affect me—more of a chance to show what I can
do. I don’t get enough feedback to tell if I’m doing a good job or not, and the company keeps
people in the dark about where it’s headed. Basically, I feel like an interchangeable part most of
the time. In answer to the question about whether the company could have done anything to keep
him, Ken replied simply, “Probably not.” Why do so many promising employees leave their
jobs? And why do so many others stay on but perform at minimal levels for lack of better
alternatives? One of the main reasons—Ken’s reason—can be all but invisible, because it’s so
common in so many organizations: a system wide failure to keep good people. Corporations
should be concerned about employees like Ken. By investing in human capital, they may actually
help reduce turnover, protect training investments, increase productivity, improve quality, and
reap the benefits of innovative thinking and teamwork. Human resource professionals and
managers can contribute to corporate success by encouraging employees’ empowerment,
security, identity, “connectedness,” and competence. How? By recognizing the essential
components of keeping their best people and by understanding what enhances and diminishes
those components. Ken doubts that his company will ever change, but other organizations are
taking positive steps to focus on and enhance employee retention. As a result, they’re reducing
turnover, improving quality, increasing productivity, and protecting their training investments.
1. Do you think that Ken’s self-esteem had anything to do with his leaving the firm?
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2. What do you think were Ken’s satisfaction with and commitment to the job and firm he is
leaving? How does this relate to the research on the determinants and outcomes of
satisfaction and commitment?
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3. What lesson can this company learn from the case of Ken? What can and should it now do?

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