Employee Retention in the Twenty First Century

The business paradigm in virtually every department of the modern business has been undergoing continuous change in the last ten years to such an extent that it becomes necessary to step back and review how we do business in all aspects of corporate life in light of new markets and new ways even our employees do business. This is as much true in our Human Resource Department as it is in Marketing. The labor pool is changing and the impact on the bottom line of the business can see be serious if we dont change how we go about recruitment and view employee retention in light of the changes to the available educated labor out there to draw upon for our staffing needs.

Employee retention and how we approach the concept of keeping employees over many years is an area where certain assumptions must be challenged if we are going to stay competitive. Some assumptions concerning employee retention that are rapidly becoming obsolete include

That there is an unlimited resource of eager employees out there to fill my staffing needs.
That its a good idea to cycle employees in and out of the company because that keeps benefits costs down.
That the my way or the highway approach to management is the right way to go to enforce your vision for how work will get done.
That employees are commodities. There are always more where they came from.
That employees should be grateful just to get a paycheck.
It is better to keep a youthful staff and to move older employees out of the work place.

The labor pool in changing with shifts in the demographics in the country and those changes make these assumptions obsolete and dangerous if we expect to keep a staff that can provide quality support for our business objectives. Because the baby boom is leaving the market and being replaced with a smaller and less skilled youth population, we have to adjust our expectations both in terms of hiring and retention.

Probably the biggest change we have to get used to is to begin to view employees as valued assets and to give significant attention to retention, not just once a year at performance review time but on a daily and weekly basis. The assumption that employees will work for us for a paycheck and that we can exert leverage in the management situation because of a large labor pool we can tap to replace unhappy employees has become a flawed approach to people management.

The truth is the pool of talented labor is shirking at an alarming rate. If you have a staff of skilled people who you have invested in to bring up their knowledge and skill levels, that is an investment worth. Skilled and educated employees are in short supply and, above all, they know they are in demand so they can move from job to job without difficulty if they become dissatisfied at their current work place.

These changes to the paradigm of emplacement justify a corporate wide reevaluation of retention policies and strategies. The HR Department should be on the forefront of changing the businesss attitude toward employees from one of us against them to one of employee empowerment and partnership.

The managers who will excel at retaining valuable, productive and trained employees will be those who see the employment relationship as a contract in which management has responsibilities to employees to assure their continued growth and success just as the employee must pull his weight in the company. A partnership approach to management will go a long way toward improving the companys retention profile which will benefit the business in a multitude of ways.

Replacing Windows Regedit

There are numerous third-party alternatives to practically every tool available with Windows. Scandisk is superseded with various data recovery tools that are vastly superior to the quite limited Windows tool; Outlook Express isn’t any better than any other email client on the market; Windows Task Manager has a number of free and commercial alternatives. Even Internet Explorer has a number of third-party replacements that offer better security and more features. Regedit is no exception to the trend.

Instead of just cloning Microsoft Regedit feature by feature, Reg Organizer provides numerous benefits to its users, unseen in any Microsoft registry tool. Not only it can edit the Windows Registry; it can find errors and fix them automatically. By cleaning out the Registry, Reg Organizer vastly improves the performance of your PC. It reduces the clutter, removes junk and makes your Registry more compact, allowing Windows run faster and smoother.

All of these optimization features don’t look like Reg Organizer is a direct replacement of Windows Regedit, but hold on! Unlike the numerous competing registry optimizers, Reg Organizer actually serves as a replacement to the primitive registry editor included with Windows. Giving its users a way to conveniently edit Windows Registry, Reg Organizer provides all browsing and editing features available in Regedit, and more! Unlike the minimalistic Regedit tool, Reg Organizer offers a fully featured graphical user interface for performing basic and advanced manipulations with the computer System Registry.

Vastly superior searching makes searching the Registry much more convenient than with Windows Regedit. Searching the Registry is where Reg Organizer shines. Not only it scans the Registry as regedit.exe does, but it allows many more things to be done when searching. You can find all registry keys related to a certain application, or run Search and Replace to substitute certain registry values with other ones. Search and Replace Registry comes handy when moving applications from one disk or folder to another, letting you change paths quickly and easily.

What is smss.exe?

smss.exe is one of the many processes that runs behind the scenes on Microsoft Windows operating systems such as XP and Vista. SMSS stands for Session Manager SubSystem, the program that is in control of handling all of the sessions that are active on a users computer. Unlike many of the behind the scenes processes found on Windows, smss.exe is a required process and should not be quit.

What does the Session Manager Subsystem actually do?

The smss.exe application is responsible for the control of many Windows related activities as they pertain to the end user. smss.exe starts up when Windows does, as it is immediately required for starting each users session. Furthermore, the smss.exe application also sets the operating systems variables as well as launches Winlogon, the program that handles many startup procedures for the Windows operating system.

What happens if smss.exe quits or fails to load?

If smss.exe fails to load, Windows will not start. Sometimes this problem may require a reboot into safe mode to see where the issue lies. Other times, it can be a problem with an improper shutdown, requiring the user to simply attempt another reboot and hope for the best.

If smss.exe is quit while Windows is running, the system may freeze, requiring a hard reboot.

Where is smss.exe located?

The application for smss.exe is always located in the C:WindowsSystem32 folder under Windows XP systems.

What if smss.exe is located elsewhere?

If you find that there is another smss.exe that is running from another folder, chances are that it is a trojan, a type of virus. There are several types of malware that masquerade as smss.exe because it is a common system process that users are unlikely to detect. However, a quick examination of your running processes and their locations is an easy way to determine if you are infected by an smss.exe type malware.

In the event that you are infected with a smss.exe virus, attempt to terminate the rogue smss.exe application and remove it from your system. This may require booting into safe mode and manually removing it, or your anti-virus program may be able to do the job for you. Furthermore, if the smss.exe is serious, there may be a Windows update that is designed to remove or patch the exploit that the virus is currently taking advantage of.

What Is The Windows Registry?

The Windows registry is a database which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft Windows 32-bit versions, 64-bit versions and Windows Mobile.

It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. Whenever a user makes changes to “Control Panel” settings, or file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.

The registry is actually a big file where a lot of setting can be stored.

This file has been around quite a while and has had different names.

The first windows version that used the windows registry to store settings was windows 3.11 and the registry in that version of windows was called Reg.dat.

In Windows 95 & 98 the registry files are named User.dat and System.dat and are stored in the Windows directory.

Windows ME called the registry files, Classes.dat, User.dat, and System.dat and stored them in the Windows directory.

Finally the newest versions of windows like, Windows NT, 2000, 2003, & XP stores the registry files like this,

The Registry files are stored in %SystemRoot%System32Config:

The NTUSER.dat file is stored in the profile folder.

The Windows Registry was introduced to tidy up the old way of storing text entries in INI files. These entries had previously been used to store configuration settings for Windows programs.
The ini files where stored in a lot of different directories and many programs used their own ini file for some or all of their settings. This way of using ini files all over the system, made them difficult to keep track of and handle in an easy and logical way.

Whats Good with the Registry

Changing from having one or more INI Files per program to one centralised registry has some obvious and some not so obvious benefits:

The registry keeps machine configuration separate from user configuration. When a user logs into a Windows NT/XP/2003 computer, their registry settings are merged with the system wide settings. This allows programs to more easily keep per-user configuration, as they can just work with the ‘current user’ key, whereas in the past they tended to just keep system-wide per-program settings. There are always some system wide settings that are common for all users though.

Group Policy allows administrators on a Windows-based computer network to centrally manage program and policy settings. This is not used in a home environment, only in corporations with a dedicated logon server.

Because the registry is accessed through a special API it is available to scripts and remote management using WMI. Each script does not have to be customised for every application’s unique configuration file layouts and restrictions.

The registry can be accessed as one item over a network connection for remote management/support, including from scripts, using the standard API.

It can be backed up more easily, in that it is just a small number of files in specific locations.

Bad things with the Registry

Not all that shines is gold. The Registry introduces some problems as well:

It is a single point of failure – damage to the Registry can render a Windows system unbootable, in extreme cases to a point that can not be fixed, and requires a full reinstall of Windows. This is why it is so important to use registry scan and repair utilities, while the registry still can be repaired.

Any program which wants to manipulate the registry must use special Windows API functions whereas a configuration file can be manipulated using normal text file-processing techniques.

Configuration files can contain comments to help the user by explaining what values are for and how they can be changed, the registry cannot. And the registry use something called guids in a large scale. Long strange unique numbers that is completely meaningless to humans. Making handling much harder.

It is more difficult to backup – it cannot be done ‘live’ because it is always in use, and thus requires special software such as ntbackup.

Restoring parts of the registry is hard because you cannot easily extract data from backed up registry files

Any application that doesn’t uninstall properly, or doesn’t have an uninstaller, can leave entries in the registry, which can lead over time to increased file size and decreased performance. And once again, heres the major reason why you must use a registry scan/clean and repair software.

The registry will be redone once more with the release of the new Vista Operating System from Microsoft.