Are You Setting Yourself Up For Employee Retention Problems?
There are few things more frustrating than high levels of employee turnover. Losing and gaining new employees at a fast rate drains productivity. It damages businesses who lose top performers and the hiring and training processes drain resources.
It also feeds on itself. A tumultuous workplace encourages employees to look for alternatives. Employee retention should be a priority for any company.
Unfortunately, many businesses are setting themselves up for a significant retention problem. They’re unwittingly laying the groundwork for future disaster by approaching current economic challenges incorrectly.
With a recession in full swing, many companies are looking to trim fat wherever they can. The eyes of the person holding the red pen over the budget may be attracted to employee engagement expenses as a place to save money. After all, it’s hard to measure the exact value of employee engagement. It’s not a critical driver of business success. It feels almost optional.
While the desire to cut costs is understandable, the decision to reduce or eliminate programs designed to encourage employee job satisfaction may be a ticking time bomb. It might make sense today, but it won’t feel like a smart move after the smoke clears from the eventual explosion.
In better times, this would be obvious immediately. We’d see increases in disengagement and we’d see increased turnover as engagement programs sputtered to a stop. In a recession, however, job mobility is more limited. People are more likely to “grin and bear it”. Employee retention levels may seem consistent (or may even improve) as the programs are eliminated.
At some point, however, the recession will come to an end. The economy will bounce back. And at that point, those who didn’t make a point of engaging their employees during the dark times will be dealing with a collection of people who have been waiting to make a move elsewhere. The grass will appear several shades greener almost everywhere else.
While companies may not see immediate negative impacts from reductions in disengagement prevention at this time, treating those programs as a mere expense is setting them up for future employee retention disasters. When the option to move elsewhere re-emerges, disengaged employees will jump ship in record numbers and at record speeds.
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