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Employee Retention After a Recession

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 5/24/2011

Employee retention after a recession is now a hot topic---employees are being lured by other companies with better job offers. So it seems that the tables have turned, as employers are now seeking solutions that would make key employees stay, while the business is still on its way to recovery

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    The Employee Attrition Dilemma

    Victory job (AWM ARTV00332) 

    Concerns for employee retention after a recession are now among the hottest issues circulating in the human resources circle. Companies are trying to pick up from where business growth was temporarily shelved and where they had to take drastic and painful steps for survival. A large part of these steps included downsizing their workforce and cutting back the salaries of the survivors by as much as 20%.

    However, it seems that while employer-companies are still on the road to recovery, both local and global job markets are said to be seeing remarkable activities of passive candidates actively searching for new work. Employees are discovering a spate of job openings and offers, to which they are discreetly responding. Inasmuch as the salary cutbacks created dents in their lifestyles, they are now considering new employers who could bring back their salaries as well as provide instant job stability.

    It appears that employers have to make a choice between upgrading salaries versus launching new recruitment and training programs. Ironically, companies may have to follow suit with the recent hiring trend---that of recruiting passive candidates. It is the same recruitment strategy that is luring away their performing personnel, at any time in the near future. In some cases, the recruiter could even be the employer’s closest rival or competitor.

    Others opine, however, that it’s an easy choice to make if the employees are only looking for restoration of their salaries. But if employees have other reasons like stability of employment or work-life balance issues, then the company is bound to face a new employment dilemma called “employee attrition".

    Actually, employee attrition is employee-turnover by another name, but mostly originating from the work force wherein finding a replacement poses a problem to the employer. It appears that the tables have turned since the employers are the ones at a disadvantage for lack of resources and financial preparedness.

    Image Credit: Bramley, Maurice (Department of National Service) for Wikimedia Commons

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    Proposed Solutions by Way of Employee Retention Programs

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    Bear in mind that the work force problem that management is now facing is more than just a simple matter of turnover. The critical issue is about talent retention at a time when employers have very little resources to offer. Nevertheless, professional managers have outlined the following steps in order to tackle the problem with the most logical solution:

    Analyze the Cause of Attrition

    Other than the obvious which is the lowered base pay, management should explore other possibilities:

    • Determine the general needs of employees; management experts give advice that money is not always the main issue. Some passive candidates who have been interviewed cite lack of respect and fair-dealing by their immediate superiors.
    • Work-life balance, wherein employees have suddenly realized that no amount of monetary compensation can provide the answer to their familial problems, particularly in raising their children. As they were forced to face life with less financial resources, they were also confronted with the root cause of their unhappiness. Most parents are worried about their children’s future and lack of interest in education, and are now seeking work that will allow them to spend more time with their children even at the same pay they are currently receiving.
    • Doubts over the employer’s extent of commitment; employees are now wary of going through the same uncertainty of unemployment. Since there are now job offers for a more stable source of income, employees want to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Their present employers are still in precarious conditions of trying to recover; hence their current jobs are still regarded as unstable.
    • Lack of job satisfaction or the need to find job alternatives that provide more challenges or growth as a professional, or as a creative talent.

    Image Credit: Martha Sawyers for Wikimedia Commons

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    Recommended Solutions to Manage Employees Retention After a Recession

    GetYourTeeth! 

    In order to address the causes of employee attrition, the following are the available solutions currently recommended:

    • To address the issues about lack of respect and unfair dealings cited against managers--regardless whether such issues are founded or not--the recommended solution is to make the immediate supervisors and managers directly responsible for employee retention. This means that the latter will have to change their management styles in ways that will create better working relationships with the staff they are directly handling.
    • One way of assuring employees about employee commitment is by way of instituting a work force succession planning program. Employees are assured of their advancement by being included in workforce succession training programs created and developed for potential candidates to fill vacancies in higher positions. This can likewise address issues about job satisfaction or the need for alternative jobs that pose more challenges.
    • The most important factor that could encourage employee retention is solving employee concerns about the company’s stability. Employers are advised to learn the lesson of the past about maintaining transparency in dealing with their employees. Rather than keep them in the dark about management’s plans for business growth, employees should be encouraged to take active part beyond the need-to-know basis.

    The main objective of the programs for employee retention after a recession is to give value and recognition for the employees' contributions, and to take away the notion that they are regarded as dispensable at any moment’s notice.

    Image Credit: Nichol (National War Services) for Wikimedia Commons

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    References:

    • By Debutts, Jimmy: Giving it back: Restoring benefits after the recession Birmingham Business Journal Published April 25, 2010--http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stories/2010/04/26/smallb1.html
    • By Rothwell, William J.: Chapter 11 Integrating Retention with Succession Planning: Effective Succession Planning: Ensuring Leadership Continuity and Building (Amacom, 2000) ---http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=S31wa8sb6rkC&pg=PA298&lpg=PA298&dq=are+workforc
      e+succession+program+effective+for+employee+retention&source=bl&ots=Nn62tamFTN&sig=
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