Make us your home page

Companies should take steps now to retain valued workers

The best and brightest are itching to move on.

Soon after the Labor Department said November's national jobless rate fell from 10.2 to 10 percent, my in-box filled with reminders about employee dissatisfaction.

Recent surveys have found that 40 to 60 percent of employees intend to look for new opportunities as soon as the job market improves, possibly next year.

Hot on the heels of those worker-dissatisfaction reminders came a different round of management consulting missives. The gist: It's possible to keep the talent you want to keep.

The rewards and retention industry was somewhat quieted by the recession. Workers, including some great employees, were being jettisoned for budget, not performance, reasons.

Remaining workers held on for dear life, afraid to make any job search noises lest they be viewed as an attitude problem or disloyal.

But the first sign of stability in hiring brought the employee morale issue to the forefront. Employers are warned that "employee engagement" is broken, and now is the time to mend it.

How? Start by restoring pay cuts as soon as possible.

In the 1990s, compensation wasn't the big driver of employee engagement. In fact, pay ranked fourth or fifth on many lists of what kept people on the job.

But pay and benefits reductions since 2001, coupled with the relentless push for workers to take up the workload of departed staff, have changed workplace dynamics. Now, money talks.

Workforce Management magazine devoted a recent cover story to "why employers need to act now to get workers back on their side." The prime focus was on unfreezing pay freezes and giving raises or bonuses to valued employees.

But what if business can't afford to restore pay cuts and give raises?

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at Kansas City Star.

Here are nonfinancial must-do remedies:

Tell employees who work hard that they are valued. Make sure they know this by a simple "thank you" or compliment for their work. (And that doesn't mean doing it once a year in a formal performance evaluation. It means every day, if warranted.)

• Assess and readjust workloads to make sure the most competent employees aren't overwhelmed.

• Assess and readjust work assignments to make sure priorities are being handled and that discretionary or less important things that used to be done with larger staffs are no longer sapping time and energy.

• Make it clear that naysayers and office gossipers don't help. Encourage more feedback, and share more business information. Misinformation usually gets spread in a knowledge vacuum.

• Don't be dogmatic about squashing naysaying. Provide opportunities for employees to say what's on their minds and ask questions. Encourage them to contribute tales and ideas from the front line.

Companies should take steps now to retain valued workers 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report


    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month


    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts


    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa


    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.