Get ready for the upturn by engaging your staff

Written by
Changeboard Team

29 May 2010

29 May 2010 • by Changeboard Team

Employee recruitment and retention

With unemployment figures falling in the last three months and the economy starting to recover from the recession, the UK is beginning to see positive signs of an upturn. All eyes will be on David Cameron in the coming year to see how his policies and £6billion cuts affect both the job market and economy but many are hoping to see signs of a recovery and a return to stability.

During last year’s recession employee recruitment and retention wasn't really a problem for businesses - but what will happen when the upturn really kicks in and there are more opportunities out there in the job market? Last year many employees sat out the recession by ensuring they retained their existing jobs. Those who are not entirely satisfied with their positions will understandably pursue new jobs when more opportunities arise.

Many companies have understandably been preoccupied with securing the future of their business during the recession and as a result may have neglected building valuable relationships with their staff. So, when the upturn arrives, many employers will clearly struggle to retain those employees who were too scared to leave their positions before as they needed job security. 

Losing valuable members of staff has always been a problem for employers but most consider it as natural wastage that they’re used to dealing with. But, will this manageable number of departing staff significantly rise in the coming year as people take advantage of the upturn?

Show your employees that they are appreciated

We’re all human and love being appreciated for the work we do so make sure your staff realise how grateful you are for their efforts. Even though we are being rewarded financially for our work a ‘thank you’ costs nothing and your staff will see that they are individually contributing to the organisation’s success and are not just another number.

Get to know your employees better

When we coach individuals the complaint that we hear the most is that people feel that their strengths are underutilised or go unnoticed. Human beings love to feel valuable and that they are contributing to a bigger picture than themselves. Ask them which of their strengths they would like to see developed by the company. They will love you for asking and will feel much more motivated if they know they are using their cherished skills.

Take time to find out what makes your staff tick

Find out what motivates your staff; even if it’s a slice of chocolate cake or a beer on a Friday afternoon after work, it will go a long way to making them feel valued. Talk to them about what would incentivise them - there’s no point in introducing free gym membership as a staff incentive if they’re not interested in getting fit and would rather have a night out. Don’t guess what motivates them - ask them, you’ll be amazed what you find out.

Dont leave people in the dark

Many employees complain that they are rarely aware of what is happening or planned in the company. If employees are frequently left out of company-related discussions they will fill in the gaps for themselves, making assumptions and creating stories to fill in the blanks. When people feel scared and isolated they are less likely to be at their most productive – and more likely to end up jumping ship.   

Dont let workplace bullies push out your staff

Bullying in the workplace is more commonplace than many people think, especially when you consider that almost 80% of managers admit that bullying occurs in their organisations.

Take a good look at your workforce - are there some staff who are clearly intimidating others? Have an open discussion with these bullies, offer them constructive feedback on how to handle matters better to ease tension. Help them to manage themselves and others more positively with leadership training and coaching. This should hopefully prevent the victims from seeking work elsewhere, when the job market improves.

Reassess your Benefits package

A quarter of all employers have introduced new Benefits in the past year. A positive indication that the upturn is starting to make an impact on employees in the workplace. Just like small incentives, re-introducing Benefits will really show your staff how valued they are and how appreciative you have been of their patience during a difficult period for the business. 

Most will have shown loyalty, despite the fact that they’ve endured pay freezes or Benefits cuts, on the understanding that it would safeguard their jobs. Bringing back Benefits will convey a positive vibe in the office and may go some way to convincing staff who were planning on moving, to remain in their jobs for the time being. 

Dont neglect supporting your co-workers

A culture of support breeds a culture of retention. People stay in an organisation that is fun and rewarding personally. In the long term overly competitive compensation schemes and team dynamics gets exhausting and can lead to companies losing a lot of talent to more rewarding workplaces. 

A truly successful business is not in fact made up of a series of successful personal performances. Rather it comprises an atmosphere of shared excitement and pride where people are rewarded for encouraging development in others.