High unemployment and lack of job growth combine to make it easy to forget about the value of efforts to keep your top talent. Workers are so happy to have a job they focus on taking steps to stay in good graces, not launching a search that will enable them to jump ship.
Sure, it’s nice to command this type of loyalty, but taking it for granted won’t build strong relationships and can damage long term results. Employees may be putting on a brave face but spreading discontent behind the scenes or marking time until they can circulate an updated resume.
Keep Them in the Loop
If you have not already made it a practice to disseminate goals and business results a new year is the perfect time to integrate these activities into your culture. Providing the big picture identifies the light at the end of a business downturn tunnel, outlines parameters for actions to achieve growth, or minimize losses and clarifies the rationale for projects and ongoing tasks. Increased knowledge improves the likelihood for both buy-in and creative ideas and initiatives.
Provide Opportunities for Career Development
Combining job functions in the wake of a layoff is not career development. Allow the incumbent the opportunity to redesign the function or at least processes within the job description. The paradigm shift from working two jobs to a redesigned classification will be positive on many levels; the employee is less likely to feel taken advantage of and inefficiencies and redundancies are minimized.
Career development can take place outside the immediate job by providing cost effective training, including valuable certifications. Cross training and cross functional teams and projects or involvement that stretches skills are also worthwhile developmental steps.
Give Performance Feedback
Periodic appraisals and ongoing performance feedback are components of good management during any economic climate. News never needs to be sugar coated or overblown. Communication that is honest, timely and targeted is more likely to provide results in any situation.
When big payoffs are scarce it’s a good time to recognize the smaller stuff, the little victories. Everyone likes to hear some good news once in a while.
Say Thank You
There must be something specific you can thank an employee for, it’s a basic form of employee feedback. Keep the acknowledgment focused on results, not negativity. Avoid saying, “At least we have one person left in Accounting who can get the bills out.” A more proactive comment is, “Thanks to your efforts our collection time has been cut in half. This is a huge help for our cash flow.”
Take steps to retain top talent now, the short term payoff yields outcomes that translate into employee success stories.