Attracting and keeping quality employees is a challenge for most businesses. With Baby Boomers retiring and the younger generation seeming to lack the drive, focus and work ethic needed to run a successful business, it’s becoming more difficult to fill crucial roles within an organization.
Economic instability has forced companies to downsize, cut pay and/or work hours, reduce benefits, and increase workloads. The pressure to do more with less is taking its toll on employee loyalty and engagement levels. Don’t assume that just because unemployment rates are high, employees are happy just to have a job. It is in times of economic instability that employees need to feel appreciated the most.
If you have employees that you value, it’s important to let them know and do what you can to keep them happy. Key employee retention ensures the long-term health and success of your business through customer satisfaction, effective succession planning, and organizational knowledge.
Employee turnover also impacts your profitability in the form of loss of training and knowledge, candidate searches, reduced productivity due to vacant positions, and the cost to train new employees.
Consider these six tips:
- Keep Employees Involved – Listen to employees and take their suggestions into account when making decisions. Make them part of important projects and involve them in the process when important decisions need to be made; then keep them informed of new developments.
- Training – Focus on long-term employee development to help build skills necessary for career success. This could include mentoring programs, cross-functional training and external learning resources.
- Compensation – Pay top talent at, or even slightly above market value. Offer good benefits like health insurance, life insurance and retirement plans. Compensation doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can also be in the form of vacations days, team or department lunches, and ½-day Fridays during the summer months, and so on. Ask your employees for suggestions and don’t be afraid to get creative.
- Open Line of Communication – During instable economic times, employees become increasingly concerned about job security. Frequent and clear communication regarding expectations, long-term goals, and opportunities for career advancement will help to motivate employees and keep them engaged.
- Offer Incentives – Even the most positive and motivated employees get discouraged. Long days, heavy workloads, and difficult customers all can be a drain and take a toll on morale. Recognize their efforts by offering bonuses, awarding tickets to a concert or sporting event, or organizing an informal gathering. And don’t discount a simple written or verbal, “Thank you.” Of course, not all employees respond to the same thing, so be sure to tailor the reward or recognition to the individual.
- Encourage Balance – It is important to have a good balance between work and life outside of work. Provide flexibility with work hours and/or remote working options.
Remember, good employees are your most valuable asset. As such, you should treat them like you would any other investment. You can’t expect good returns if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort.