If ever there was a time to pay attention to the insecurity employees may be feeling as a result of a downward economic spiral, it’s now.
With layoffs, retrenchments and early retirement taking center stage in world economics, employees that don’t feel valued by management will, without hesitation, leave the moment an opportunity comes up elsewhere. This leads to a general climate in which employees actively look for work elsewhere before the ship goes down. Employees who are disillusioned and uncertain of the future also have a major impact on productivity.
Loyalty also takes a dive when employers don’t take into account that what drives productivity and commitment is a management policy that lets employees know how valuable they are to the company. Hiring the best employees is one thing. Encouraging them to form a long term commitment with the company is another. This is when management is on the hook in making sure the employee has good reason to want to stay.
So, what can an employer do to retain the services of staff in the long term?
Top 10 tips to maintain employee’s trust in times of business upheaval:
Transparency is vital to keeping the lines of communication open with staff. Pretending that everything is fine will not make people want to stick with you in tough times. The staff already know something is happening, and pretending that its business, as usual, will be an insult to them.
Taking this route will be a loss of credibility in management, making the insecurity that staff are feeling even worse.
Focus on the positives
Every company has its share of ups and downs, but, the company led by management that focuses on the positives of the situation, without being misleading, is one that’ll pull staff together when business gets tough.
Even if the wheels are wobbling and the news isn’t great, your staff deserves to know the truth. They also need to be in on what your plans are to turn it all around, and being open with them about this will also make them want to be part of the solution.
Show strong leadership qualities
When your staff sees that you’re not panicking, despite the situation, they’ll trust you to make the right decisions, for the company and for them.
This is when having strong leadership qualities will be the quality that’ll retain staff, instead of losing them due to lack of leadership. No matter how difficult the circumstances, your employees need a captain who’ll inspire them to stick around.
Involve employees in decision-making
Involving employees in the decision-making process about how to move forward also increases their trust in you. Let your staff know that there are changes that might have to be made to get through a tough period, and what those changes will be.
When you involve your employees in the decision-making process, they’ll find it easier to adjust to changes and to ride out the tough times until there’s an upward curve.
Hire staff in-house
Keeping it in the family is a fantastic way to show your staff that you value them too much to let them go. Let your staff move up in-house rather than lose them to another company.
It’s a real crisis for any business when staff decides to abandon ship in the middle of a business upheaval. The chaos that losing staff creates is the last thing you need under the circumstances.
When you hire in-house you create room for employees to grow, giving them an opportunity for promotion. This is also another way to make sure that employees would rather stay for the duration than to take the first offer from another employer.
Show respect for your staff
Encouraging a culture of respect among staff members will only happen if you, as management, show that kind of respect to your staff. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove that you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot by mistreating your staff.
They’ll walk out the door the moment they get another offer. They’ll also be a little wiser about what they should look for in an employer in the future. Being mistreated every day at work is often what makes it impossible for a business to retain employees.
Encourage personal growth and further education
There’s always something new to be learned, and if you want to keep your staff happy, even in tough times, then encouraging continued education will bring out the best in employees, in any business climate.
Showing employees that you trust them by encouraging them to take on responsibilities that don’t fit the job description of their current position is a great strategy for keeping employees happy and engaged.
Increase loyalty by introducing profit sharing
Introducing profit sharing will make your employees feel less like worker-bees or robots and more like part owners in the company. Having a vested interest in the company earns loyalty from employees and increases productivity, all of which will go a long way to pulling the company back into the black.
If you take the time to listen to your employees you’ll find that they’re more than willing to share their ideas about keeping the boat afloat in choppy waters.
Setting aside a bit of time to share ideas informally will make employees feel that they’re part of the solution, rather than leaving them with the impression that they’re part of the problem.
Act on the feedback you get and institute changes that are valid, and if you can’t carry out a suggestion, explain to employees why it won’t work. The point is to keep employees engaged and interested, so that they’ll also get credit for being in on decision-making changes for the better.
Share future plans
If you really want to keep employees informed, share with them the vision you have of a better future. While everyone is focussed on the challenges of the present difficulties, it’s difficult to see the silver lining on the horizon.
The ‘but’ here is that hope springs eternal when given a nudge in the right direction. When you give staff hope and a vision of a positive future to be shared, the journey through tough times will ease up more than you could hope.
Give your employees more good reasons to stay than to leave, and you’ll have won their hearts and trust, bringing a healthy atmosphere of loyalty in all the employees do to make your business a success.
Let them know that their long-term commitment to the business is reciprocated by your own commitment to them, made clear by your transparency and a genuine interest in their future.
Top ten tips to maintain employees trust:
- Be transparent
- Focus on the positives
- Show strong leadership qualities
- Involve employees in decision-making
- Hire staff in-house
- Show respect for your staff
- Encourage personal growth and further education
- Increase loyalty by introducing profit sharing
- Share future plans