Welcome to the October 2009 issue of Alignment Solutions! Here are this month's highlights:
This month's theme is "employee engagement and retention during difficult times and beyond." During the past year, many organizations made decisions based on short-term considerations that resulted in cutting costs quickly and drastically. Often these cost-cutting measures included firing and/or furloughing large parts of the workforce. Without making any judgment about the efficacy of such short-term "fixes," the fact is that these actions now require leaders to address two urgent and related issues:
Short-term fixes often have unintended long-term consequences, and many people just don't know what to do next - literally. As a result, I find myself conducting workshops and advising clients about how to manage these consequences, many of which already have manifested themselves in forms such as employee burnout, abysmal morale, and low productivity. This month's articles address ways to mitigate the consequences of recession-related workplace decisions.
The Feature Article, "The Recovery 'Test:' Will Your Employees Stay with You When They Have Alternative Opportunities?," points out some of the long-term unintended consequences of short-term cost-cutting.
In "Eleven Ways to Retain Employees During the Upturn (and Keep Them Engaged Now)," the Business Solutions section lists eleven suggestions for creating environments that dramatically increase the likelihood that you will retain your best employees during the economic upturn and beyond. Coincidentally, these techniques will help keep them engaged now.
In the Personal Solutions section, "Eleven Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated During Difficult Times" tweaks the items on the Business Solutions list for use in one's personal life.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com and my blog at www.OptimizeBusinessResults.com to find other articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
The Recovery "Test:" Will Your Employees Stay with You When They Have Alternative Opportunities?
During the last year or more, thousands of organizations have responded to the economic downturn by slashing budgets and jettisoning employees. Most leaders viewed these reactions as necessary for survival. Those whose organizations did survive and now see the recovery in sight have to face the long-term consequences of their short-term "fixes." Those consequences, ironically, have to do with organizational prospects for long-term survival and success.
There is no doubt that the last year has been tough on workforces everywhere. In addition to people who lost their jobs or a significant part of their income through furloughs, the "surviving" employees have had a difficult time as well. Not only do they have to contend with heavier workloads and the possibility that they could be next, but often they feel guilty because they still have jobs while their co-workers don't.
Yet to be tested is what effect these actions will have on employee retention. That is, when the economy turns around and people have alternatives to their current jobs, will they stay with you or will they move on? A few surveys have indicated that over 50% of current employees plan to jump ship as soon as another one is close enough to board. And when people have alternatives, employers have to work harder to keep their best employees.
If you wait until those other ships are in sight, it will be too late: not only will you lose good employees, but you will be competing with countless other organizations for qualified replacements. Begin NOW to build or fortify a solid foundation of support so that you are able to retain your workers in the months ahead, and attract others as you begin to grow.
What are you doing to make sure your organization passes the recovery "test?"