Archive for August, 2010

Hard Times Can Generate Employee Retention Issues

August 1, 2010

Employee retention even in the best of times is a difficult task. Maintaining good morale in times of stress magnifies the problems.
The first task of any leader is to develop a strategy, communicate to all levels, garner buy-in, monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary. In short-be a leader.
But in today’s economy and environment it is even more critical.
The current economic downturn has radically changed American business.
With the coming of a new generation of workers, there are additional management issues to be faced in retaining and motivating employees.
Right now, most are fearful of losing their jobs.
Many see co-workers, neighbors and family members out of work.
As a result, everyone is working harder.
Studies show that American productivity has risen during this downturn.
Clearly, employees are doing more with less.
What will happen when the employment picture brightens is open to conjecture.
A recent employee survey indicated many staffers were unhappy with their present companies but were waiting for better times before leaving.
Buried within the above mentioned survey was a note that firms that shared reduced salaries equitably across all management levels were better positioned to keep employees than companies that had not shared this information or been evenhanded.
During a recent focus group of company managers, there emerged a consensus that in hard times, management must share the pain. Participants reported that when managers took a salary hit along with other defensive efforts, employees seem much more willing to cooperate if told of this aspect of the firm’s efforts.
In a lifeboat equal sharing is the key to survival and that is not lost on employees.
Employees also like to be “in the know.” It is important to them to feel that they are part of the solution and that management understands and trusts them.
At the same time, it is important to delineate what shared information can be discussed outside the company and what should be kept “company private.”
Managers need to make sure all written communications are accompanied by an admonishment not to share it outside the firm.
With change comes fear and uncertainty. Keeping employees in the picture and demonstrating common sacrifice while painting a picture of a brighter tomorrow are key ingredient to improving company profits while maintaining employee morale.
Finally, if employees are somehow promised some reward down the road they will help the company to survive and grow. And equally as important, they stay.