Become 'the other job," by creating a workplace where employees resist the temptation to leave.


Throughout literature, television and nearly any other form of media, there’s a recurring trope of the Jezebel — the homewrecker, the other woman, the person who steps in and ruins a happy relationship.

Whether this threat is the eponymous Jolene from Dolly Parton’s hit song or Jacob Black of “Twilight” fame, you’ve undoubtedly seen examples of someone coming in and threatening an existing relationship.

I’d posit that this role also exists in the workplace, and if you want to attract and retain employees, you must become “the other job.”

Right now, most businesses are scrambling to hire more people. There are, of course, high-profile instances of tech giants implementing mass layoffs, but these noteworthy examples are the minority. The Indeed app is still bursting at the seams with job listings in most industries, and employers are desperately seeking new talent.

If the current situation is challenging for employers, it’s no easier for working-class individuals. Currently, 62% of Americans in the workforce live paycheck to paycheck. Blame that on the high cost of living, wage stagnation or whatever else you like, but the reality is that more than half of the American workforce is in a pretty desperate situation.

I’m not just telling you this to tug on your heartstrings. I’m telling you this because many of your employees are probably in the same position. And if you’re not careful, the potential exists for “the other job” to step in and offer them something better.

This is the problem with the legend of the other woman (or man, or person). The myth is that two people are in this perfectly content relationship, then a temptress steps in and ruins everything.

And it’s just that — a myth.

The truth is that stable, happy relationships don’t have anything to fear from outside intruders. Similarly, employees who are happy with their current employers aren’t likely to be tempted into another position. So, how do you ensure you don't lose your people to a new, more appealing offer? Simple. You become the other job. Instead of the boring person at home, you become the mistress.

If you have part-time workers with another “main” job, start courting them. Make sure they have a good wage and a pleasant work environment. If they need you to be flexible around their primary position's hours, then happily work around that schedule and impress them with how fair and reasonable you are. Then, as time passes and you prove the job and company are stable and reliable, your part-time employees may become full-time hires.

For the past several years, I’ve worked with a company that has done this brilliantly. Routinely, they bring people in as part-time help and convert them to full-time employees. This is certainly not the highest-paying job out there. But management makes sure that it's a nice place to work, that there’s a culture of empowering employees and that each employee has a variety of duties and responsibilities, so they feel like they’re growing and gaining valuable skills.

Once you’ve made a good place to work, you only have to offer some extra hours. People don’t usually go from 20 hours to 40 right away, but slowly and surely, this organization became the primary employer for most of their staff. Not sure what you can offer your employees to tempt them out of another role? Ask them.

If you want to stay competitive in the job market, it’s time to look at better pay, more robust benefits packages, and anything else to keep your people choosing your company as their preferred workplace.

There are a lot of potential employers out there. And if you’re not willing to become “the other job” that steals away employees, then you can bet that somebody else will.

Doug Phares is the former CEO of the Sandusky News Group. He currently serves as managing director of Silverwind Enterprises, which owns and provides management services to small businesses. He can be reached at


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