When a recession causes businesses to lay off workers, cut back on hours, forego raises, and spread more work over fewer people, resentment can quickly build in the ranks. As employees watch their coworkers lose their jobs, they must shoulder those extra responsibilities themselves, often without additional compensation. A once-loyal employee may begin looking for another job and even worse, may discourage others from working for the company. How can you resolve these tensions, retain your employees, and focus on rebuilding your team as the economy begins to recover?
- Keep the Communication Lines Open
Talk to your employees about how the company is doing and why changes are necessary. Give them a chance to ask questions, voice opinions, and submit feedback. Then show them that you care about what they have to say by responding to their feedback, implementing suggestions when possible, and holding open forum meetings.
- Remain Committed to Employee Development
Your best and brightest want to know that they can still develop their skills and potential. Even if you don’t have many training dollars, you can implement a mentoring program and consider promoting from within if possible. Your employee development strategy should be workable for the long-term, even when the budget gets tight.
- Revisit Compensation Packages
While a recession can mean stagnant paychecks for employees, it’s important to revisit compensation once you see an upturn in business. Your employees may be less loyal and more distrustful than they were before, especially if they’ve seen coworkers lose their jobs. You’ll need to work at creating an improved offer that communicates value in order to keep from losing top talent to another employer.
- Don’t Sacrifice Your Employees on the Altar of Success
As companies begin to recover from an economic downturn, the needs of employees often take a backseat to the needs of customers, shareholders, and other constituents. In order to retain your best talent, you’ll need to create an environment that nurtures them professionally and meets their needs for fair compensation, development, and a positive work environment.
- Show Your Appreciation
When the economic news is bad, it’s easy to remain close-mouthed, especially if you can’t afford raises and bonuses. But that’s a mistake. Even if you’re making cutbacks, you can still take the time to publicly acknowledge employee successes, thank them for their loyalty, and show your appreciation for a job well done.
As the job market revives, your best employees will begin receiving offers from other organizations. If you haven’t cultivated an atmosphere of employee appreciation and value, you may be in danger of losing your top talent. By creating a strong employee value proposition, you can establish a culture of appreciation for employees, earning their loyalty and retaining their skills.