How to Hold On to Your Talent Through Tough Times
As markets rise and fall, so do the numbers of employees who decide to leave for other opportunities.
When the job market is tight and unemployment high, few workers dare leave their jobs even if they are highly dissatisfied where they are. When the economy is soaring and opportunities abound, more workers choose to look elsewhere. Until then, they are apt to stay employed…but they disengage. Their commitment to the company is down, morale is low, productivity suffers and the organization struggles to survive. Not a pretty picture.
And yet there are some companies that hang on to their employees through thick and thin. Their employees are full-fledged contributors, willing to do whatever it takes to keep the company afloat. How do these companies differ from others?
They understand how to keep their employees engaged.
In our twenty-year experience in helping organizations maintain a healthy level of satisfaction in their workforce through employee engagement training and consulting, we found these factors to be the most critical…in good times and bad:
• Open, honest communication.
Employees value frequent, regular, straightforward communication. They appreciate being trusted with information about the current situation and the future business direction. The better they understand the challenges that the company and their leaders face, the more committed they are to do their part to improve performance.
In fact, our our organizational alignment research found that a whopping 81% of highly aligned companies reported a high degree of information flow and transparency while only 94% of low performing companies had poor communication.
You will know you are on the right track to increase employee engagement through communication when employees believe that they are well informed about company issues and that they have enough information and resources to do their job well.
• Opportunities to grow.
Organizations that believe their greatest asset is in their people are ready to invest in them. They encourage their employees to grow and to learn in ways that will support their success personally and professionally – both now and in the future. In the end, it is the organization that benefits. A well-schooled workforce that is given the tools and opportunities to advance in their careers is a happily engaged workforce.
You will know you are on the right track to increase employee engagement through growth opportunities when employees believe that their job gives them the opportunity to learn and grow.
• Focus on teamwork.
Strong teams have clear goals, roles, success metrics and processes. They work collaboratively with a common purpose without having conflicts of interest. Individual members know just what is expected of them and how what they do contributes to the whole.
You will know you are on the right track to increase employee engagement through teamwork when goals and accountabilities are clear to everyone on the team, individual strengths are known and leveraged, and different people, functions and departments work well together to solve problems.
• Unshakable values.
Some companies abandon their stated values when money is tight or disaster strikes. For example, they may say “people are their greatest asset” but drastically reduce headcount or training budget when times are tough. The best high performing companies find ways to continue investing in their people (especially their top performers) at all times.
You will know you are on the right track to increase employee engagement through your values when your workforce believes that 75% or more of the leaders in your company consistently model your desired company culture and the majority of your employees are proud of your corporate culture.
Employee engagement need not suffer during economic downturns. It is not so much the money that earns employee loyalty but the way they are treated—as valued contributors to the company mission.