The first step to developing a retention plan is understanding some of the theories surrounding job satisfaction. One of the basic theories is the progression of job withdrawal theory, developed by Dan Farrell and James Petersen. 1 It says that people develop a set of behaviors in succession to avoid their work situation. These behaviors include behavior change, physical withdrawal, and psychological withdrawal.
Within the behavior change area, an employee will first try to change the situation that is causing the dissatisfaction. For example, if the employee is unhappy with the management style, he or she might consider asking for a department move. In the physical withdrawal phase, the employee does one of the following:
- Leaves the job
- Takes an internal transfer
- Starts to become absent or tardy
If an employee is unable to leave the job situation, he or she will experience psychological withdrawal. They will become disengaged and may show less job involvement and commitment to the organization, which can create large costs to the organization, such as dissatisfied customers.