Posts Tagged ‘economy’

When The Levee Breaks

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

levyStop for a moment and picture this: It’s sometime in the next year or so, and the economy really starts rolling again (okay, it could happen). The company you work for, while not back to where it once was, is doing well. Sales have picked up, and everywhere you look things are looking like a near-full recovery is imminent. The hiring freeze is no longer; you’re looking at hiring new people. Pay raises are even back.

Big problem.

What? Where’s the problem?

The problem is the employees who stayed with your company through the tough times. Why? Because, even though your company kept them employed, it took advantage of the situation. Your company took the attitude, “Hey, you’re lucky to have a job. No incentives, no bonuses, no nothing. Just buckle down and get to work.” Fortunately for your company, at the time these employees had no alternatives. But the times have changed, or will change. And when they do, your employees may change too – to another company.

Employees who feel they have been taken advantage of – in even the most minute, slight way – will some day retaliate. They won’t forget. And when they get a chance, they will move on. It could cause a flood.

If too many of them move on at one time, that could cause big problems. Sure, there will be many people looking for work when the economy recovers. The problem is that the ones who are first in line are the ones that have been unemployed. They are not the high performers. No, the high performers are the employees your company and others kept on board through the tough times. And if they leave, and your company replaces them with the ones who weren’t kept on board somewhere, that could lower the overall performance of your company.

According to a recent study (Facing the Challenges of a Changing Workplace), almost half of Gen Y workers and 35 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have updated their resume in the last six months. What does that tell us? It tells us that many employees are either looking already, or are preparing to look for new jobs. In fact, twenty five percent of the youngest workers in the study have already sent out their resume.

Oh, and it’s one thing for employees to be there – to be in your workplace – and it’s a completely other thing for them to be engaged in their work. In other words, an employee can physically be there, and yet not be there mentally. So, when you sit back and think, “Everything is okay. Look, everyone is here and working,” consider whether they are really there. It’s been said that it’s one thing to have your employees’ bodies at work, and it’s another to have their brains at work. And I’d like to add that it’s another still to have their heart in it.

The time to deal with this is… now! Now’s the time to ensure employees will stay loyal when the economy picks up and they have options.

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