PBJ How Oregon Works: Karen O’Connor Discusses the ‘Great Resignation’ and How Businesses Can Improve Employee Retention

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For the “Career & Workplace” installment of Portland Business Journal’s 2022 How Oregon Works series, Stoel Rives’ labor & employment partner Karen O’Connor is featured in a Q&A, “The great resignation,” published March 9, 2022. O’Connor and other local business leaders spoke to PBJ Publisher and President Candace Beeke about how their organizations are supporting the regional workforce, the impact their organizations are seeing from the “Great Resignation,” the practices their organizations are using to attract and retain talent, and more.

In response to a question about the sustainability of salary or wage increases being seen within the local economy, O’Connor compared those increases to the costs of the turnover that may result from not compensating employees fairly.

“I hear employers concerned about the cost of providing a particular benefit, like health insurance. But I don’t often hear people acknowledging the very real costs of turnover,” she said. “McKinsey estimates that the cost of replacing an employee runs three to four times of what you pay them annually. If you sink a little bit into retaining your people and you’re not incurring the cost of losing them, that’s a significant savings.”

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