The recovery "test" is a pass/fail assessment and consists of one question: Will your employees stay with you when the economy turns around and they have alternative opportunities?

How would your organization do on this test today? In case the answer is anything other than a resounding "We are 100% certain we will pass," here are eleven no-cost suggestions of what you can do NOW to increase the likelihood that you will retain good employees once they have viable choices again. As a bonus, these suggestions also will help keep your current employees engaged without burning them out.

  1. Lead decisively and instill confidence in your workforce. You cannot lead if you're hiding under the desk.
  2. Ensure that employees have reasonable workloads by setting priorities with and for them. Though it seems counterintuitive, productivity actually increases when we embrace the reality of doing LESS with less.
  3. Ensure that organizational processes and individual decisions are procedurally fair. Employees will accept negative outcomes IF they believe the rules by which they were achieved are fair.
  4. Support and nurture your supervisors so they can help employees be fully successful.
  5. Demonstrate daily that senior management really cares about employees. Create an environment in which people are respected and valued for who they are personally rather than for their job titles.
  6. Listen to employees. Provide varied and multiple opportunities for them to be heard, and show them that leaders take them seriously.
  7. Be empathetic. Give employees an outlet for expressing their anxieties and fears.
  8. Create an appreciative environment. Catch people doing things well and recognize their efforts as well as their successes and achievements.
  9. Help employees see that they have choices about how they experience their situations. Show them that they have more control than they think they do.
  10. Communicate early and often. Be truthful and as transparent as possible.
  11. Create a sense of community. Ensure that all employees see the organization's "big picture" AND how they personally contribute to its achievement.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.

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