As I sit down to write this blog I think about last November and how we were in the midst of what turned out to be the tail end of the “Great Recession”. Financial minds were discussing “doomsday” and “double dips”, and those of us still employed were thankful to have a job with so many out of work. I recall a top performing manager of mine asking when we were going to start “letting people go”. Thankfully, we did not have a lay-off, but to me that statement sums up the mindset of many just one year ago.
Now, a year later, with the recession hopefully behind us and hiring beginning to pick up, leaders need to be increasingly thankful for their top performing employees. Over the past year, employers who have retained staff during the recession have naturally created loyalty among their employees. This year will be one of transition for both employers and employees, and employers that still act as if we are in the heart of the recession are in for a rough year next year. Meaning, we must plan now to be different and act different. 2011 will be a year of change for many people–promotions or merit increases that were put on hold because of the economy will be reinstated, new career opportunities that were promised will be made good, and if not, talented employees will begin to look outside their current organization, if they haven’t started already.
We have to remember that if we’re not continually re-recruiting our own talent internally, someone else is from the outside. Ultimately, it’s easier to retain good talent than it is to find them externally, train, engage, and maintain. We see from our clients the extreme push to get the top talent that has been neglected from their current employer. It is not a secret; recruiters know which companies treat their employees well and which do not.
Let’s take time to reflect on what we’re thankful for during this Thanksgiving holiday, and not take for granted that our best employees will stay with us simply because there aren’t many options for them to move. Times are changing and organizations are always looking for top talent. Although money is one of the main reasons we all go to work every day, it is not always someone’s single motivator. Plan now for how you will maintain and cultivate your employees, as well as strategize and plant the seeds to find new talent. Regardless of whether or not you have budget, there are a few keys to retain current staff in 2011–be creative, communicate, engage and a simple thank you never hurts.