As the economy turns, how do you protect your employee talent asset? After eighteen months of layoffs, wage freezes and increased workloads, employees are feeling tired and disheartened, ready to jump ship for better opportunities.
According to a recent survey by Right Management Inc, six in ten employees intend to pursue new job opportunities somewhere else in 2010, and another 21 percent say “maybe” and are already networking toward it.
This is a time you have to be conscious of and commit to re-earning trust. Even your engaged workers are aware of opportunities elsewhere, and your best employees are mobile. People are always attracted by career development opportunities, attaining work/life balance, or working for a creative culture. If leadership doesn’t provide these things, then workers will seek them elsewhere.
Although there is a sense of entitlement with these demands, the good news is that this pressure can push our organizations to be better places to work.
How are smart employers going to inspire workers to stay and be engaged? By being in touch with employees. Here are a few ways to establish and rebuild trust.
Pay attention to your top performers – those that you want to keep – and don’t take them for granted:
- Provide meaningful work. Restate the organization’s vision and how the contribution of these leaders – regardless of their position – is connected to the overall organizational goals.
- Seek their input on how they feel about their job, management, and the organization itself.
- Find out what they need to move from being worried to being completely engaged. Listen carefully to their ideas for making this a better place.
- Support them to determine their future goals and highest aspirations; what matters most to them, and provide action plans to help them reach those goals.
- Help them take on responsibilities that are aligned with their talents and passion.
- Recognize your key people. Make it a point to let them know how much they are valued and how much value they bring.
- Share corporate and financial information at monthly meetings.
- Have “up close and personal” sessions, giving staff company news and updates, and allow time to field questions on any topic, from the organization’s growth to peoples’ vacation plans.
- Let people know where you stand and why decisions are being made – enlist their input.
- Get your key employees involved in critical decisions and discussions wherever possible. Help them feel they are a part of something and are needed to succeed.
Ramp up your commitment to mentoring, and ensure that people are getting the support they need to succeed, grow, and develop pride.
- Expose your best employees to senior leadership through opportunities for mentoring.
- Consider job rotations to give employees experience in other areas.
- Allow high-potential workers to handle special projects or work on high-potential accounts. Support your best people in taking risks.
If your company was forced to implement pay cuts or a wage freeze that you can’t afford to reinstate, find other ways to compensate staff: days off, flexible working hours, or even product discounts. Get to know what motivates individuals, and do what you can to show your commitment to them.
Remember that your best people are the ones that can always get a job anywhere, but if they trust you to have their best interests at heart, they will be committed to the organization. More than anything, people want to belong and contribute to something that is lasting. The payoff is that as you see signs of life in the economy, you will see signs of life in your employees. It is inspiring to have people wanting to step up, rather than step out.