How Is This Economy Affecting Your People?
Are you happy at work? It's a simple question, but a critical question, because happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees are engaged employees. When the answer to this question is negative the impact on our future success is astounding.
Statistically 45-75% of employees are unhappy at work. This is one of the highest percentages we have seen. The reasons are numerous, but they all have the same theme. Too much work, not enough people, a stressed-out boss, or unhealthy company culture all contribute to employee unhappiness. Development of employees has been put on the back burner to other initiatives that are seemingly more important.
The Changing Employment Scene
In the employment world, the concerns of a few years ago have changed significantly. Then there were concerns about the largest exodus of talent ever seen due to baby boomers retiring. Then companies were investing in their people, in their career development, and employee engagement.
Now, many baby boomers can't afford to leave. Top talent is plentiful, with people looking for opportunities. It's a tough market and employees are more disengaged than ever before. Last year over 9 billion dollars in productivity and sales was lost due to lack of employee engagement.
Do You Invest In Your People?
When is the last time you invested in your people? Can you afford to put the development of your people on the back burner? In many companies the current strategy is to "maximize your people" aka "burn them out". What will happen when the market turns around? How safe is your company from losing its' top talent - the talent that drives the bottom line of your company's success? More importantly - do you know who your talent is?
So what do you do? How can you affect people's happiness at work? First of all, make it a priority. The Human Capital Institute (HCI) states that CEO's of top performing companies spend 70% of their time on talent - recruiting, retaining and developing. In a sluggish economy that percentage goes up. These are the companies that will survive this economic downturn and come out winners. You have to stay ahead of the curve. Think strategically. Think creatively. What will help your company "get to the next step"? How will your business change in order to be flexible with the dynamic business environment and how will you engage and support your people through these changes?
The problem is similar to the resignation of a high performing employee. What do you do? You probably make a counter offer. Even if they accept they usually still leave within six months. It's a strategy that rarely works. Why wouldn't you show your high performers their value before they want to leave?
Succeeding in this Economy
Some simple solutions will help you retain your talent in this economy. Market studies on your compensation and total rewards programs will ensure you are in line with your competitors. Even if you aren't doing this it's likely your employees are. You should be reviewing your succession plans, identifying your hi-potentials, and perfecting your performance management processes to ensure the right talent is in the right job and being developed accordingly. This is a time to review your talent management systems to ensure that they are tracking the development of your high performers and providing them the training and support that is needed to build the bench strength that will be necessary for your company in the coming years.
What do People Want?
Business has changed, but people haven't. They still want to feel like they are adding value to their company. They want to know that there is a reason for them to come to work every day and give the discretionary effort that will increase your bottom line profits to help you survive and thrive. Make your company succeed, by making your employees succeed.
Helping you and your people succeed is what we do at Sequent. Let us help you win. Let us help you get back on track with your employees and your company, before it's too late.
About the Author: Beth Thomas, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Consulting at Sequent.
In her role at Sequent, Beth is responsible for the overall success of the Consulting group. She has multiple responsibilities including the overall management of the Consulting business, Chief Learning Officer for Sequent, and Practice Leader for the Organizational Development Practice. As part of her background, Beth specializes in designing and leading Transformational Training and Large Scale Change Initiatives. She has 20 years experience helping organizations through major transformations, such as mergers and acquisitions and organizational change.
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