As the economy rebounds, employees who were once content with just having a job will be looking for the “next best thing”. In the past few years, companies have had to take drastic actions to remain competitive and survive the recession. Employees have watched co-workers and friends be let go, have gone several years with little if any raises and have experienced cut backs on benefits. In many cases, employees are doing more work with fewer resources. As the economy improves, employers could find their key employees jumping ship. Building employee engagement and putting retention measures in place will be paramount in retaining talent as the economy recovers.
One step toward building employee engagement across the organization is overall internal communication. Open and honest communication from top management to employees of all levels demonstrates value and respect. Build trust by sharing the economic conditions faced by the company as well as the immediate goals. Two-way communication should be encouraged by soliciting feedback from employees as well. Give employees a confidential way to express their feelings by providing comment cards or doing an employee satisfaction survey.
Showing appreciation is a very important aspect of employee retention. Recognize employees and thank them for “sticking it out with you during the tough times.” Acknowledge and celebrate success. Whether it’s a pat on the back, a note from the department head, or a public acknowledgement, employees need to know that they are valued. Recognition programs do not have to be costly.
Identify the employees with potential, know what’s important to them, and have a development plan in place. Provide advancement and training opportunities when possible. Training and development programs increase job satisfaction, motivation and morale. If training dollars have been reduced, develop an internal mentoring program to help get employees ready for advancement and new job responsibilities.
While compensation does not typically rank as the top reason people join an organization, as the economy improves, valued employees will begin to explore new options. Now is the time to review total compensation packages to ensure your company is competitive. Participate in and research salary surveys as well as benchmarks for health care benefits, retirement benefits and paid time off. Knowledge of your competitors’ practices can help ensure that your company remains competitive in the current market as well as during recovery.
Finally, identify and know your top performers. Understand the key drivers of this population and regularly measure employee engagement. Surveys such as Early Impressions Survey or Employee Satisfaction Surveys, both offered by TMP Worldwide, help to identify and address potential problems. This information allows your organization to determine where to make changes and improvements that will aide in retaining top talent today, tomorrow and in years to come.