Are your compensation programs ready for when the pendulum swings from an “employers’ market” to an “employees’ market”? How can you best retain key talent that has helped you weather the storm? Below are some suggestions to help your company prepare for the shifting market.
– Take inventory: Do you know who your key performers are? Do you know what skill sets you need to retain and/or recruit for? Conduct a “Skills Inventory” to be sure you retain those employees with critical skill sets and begin recruiting for those skill sets you need to staff for. If you need to provide training to employees in order to increase skills or for career development, identify which training programs they need and consider offering them as “brown bag lunch” sessions or ½ day sessions.
– Performance Management: Giving employee feedback is free and it sends a very strong message that you value their contributions during these difficult times and want them to stick around for the better times to come. If you haven’t given your employees an annual performance review, you need to do it now! You want them to know where they stand, especially when the market starts to come back. Remember, Performance Management is a two-way process, so if your Manager hasn’t given you your Performance Feedback, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for it!
– Spend your bankroll wisely: While the market is showing signs of strength, many companies may not have a “pot-of-gold” to spend on employee investments. You can still make the money go a long way by making sure you spend it wisely:
- Focus on your key performers: Who is critical to retain?
- Average performers: If they’re meeting “average expectations” they may not necessarily need a salary increase if they’re keeping pace with the market
- Needs improvement: Take the time to work with those employees that need to improve their work. Document a Performance Improvement Plan to help them get back on track.
- If you can afford to do merit increases for your “key performers”, but can’t do it all now, try 6-month increments. This will send them the message that while you can’t make up for lost time, you can give them smaller merit increases more often.
– Career Pathing: Be sure that employees know their next level in their career ladder. For key employees, put together a career development plan to help them get the training, skills and support they need to keep moving. An employee who is challenged may be less likely to start “shopping around.”
– Set Goals: Use a cascading goal setting process to communicate the company’s goals. Be sure to use a company-wide venue (all company meeting, webcast, e-mail, etc.) to share the goals.
– Open Door Policy: As the market shifts, encourage Managers and Employees to check in with each other…a simple question along the lines of “How are things going” can facilitate an honest and open conversation between an Employee and their Manager.
– Get Creative: Maybe now is the time to implement some of those programs you’ve been thinking about doing. New programs can send a message to employees that the Company is will to try new employee programs to retain employees.
– Communicate, communicate, communicate: Now, more than ever, is the time to communicate honestly and openly about current company business conditions. Employees only know what you share with them…prevent the company “grapevine” from growing by communicating honestly and openly with employees. This will also help build trust which is a must in creating a positive working environment.
– Say Thank You: The last 12 months have been trying times at work and home for employees and their families. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way to recognize the stress and difficult conditions all employees have endured. Consider hosting a company luncheon or ice cream sundae party whereby the Executives “serve” the employees; a personal “thank you note” to each employee from the CEO; or a small token gift (Dunkin Donuts gift card, Cafeteria gift card). Employee incentives can go a long way towards employee motivation!
How is your company preparing for the changing markets?