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What Jerry Seinfeld Taught Us About Job Retention

Can you imagine going to pick up your car rental, and they don’t have one for you? Even though you reserved it two weeks ago. When Jerry Seinfeld arrived at the rental car counter, they didn’t have one for him. They were out of cars. Jerry tells the rental car agent that she doesn’t know how to take a reservation.


To paraphrase, “Oh, I know how to take a reservation,” she insists.


“Apparently you don’t,” he says. If she did, there would be a car there waiting for him. He mimics someone taking a reservation in an exaggerated manner.


“I’m taking a reservation,” he mocks. “Anyone can take reservation. It’s the holding part that matters.” They used their processes to reserve a car, yet they had no car.


Today, businesses are “doing their processes to get workers” yet they don’t have enough workers.

The study, Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent, by Harvard Business Review, makes the case for businesses to “foster a culture of inclusive hiring practices that enable them to access the broadest skilled talent pools.” They estimate there are 27 million workers being left out of consideration for employment. These include the following:

  • Caregivers

  • Veterans

  • Immigrants and refugees

  • People with physical disabilities

  • People with mental health or developmental/neurodiversity challenges

  • People from less advantaged populations

  • Previously incarcerated

  • Those without traditional qualifications

The study’s report recommends reforming your approach to talent acquisition and developing a customized approach to hiring hidden workers. That’s an excellent starting point. More important is improving job retention for these formerly hidden workers. It doesn’t do any good to hire someone if your leaders don’t know how to keep them! It’s not the hiring that’s the important part. It’s the keeping them.


Jerry says it best. Watch here: Jerry Seinfeld on Holding a Reservation.

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