Prepare for Post-Recession Job Churn

May 9, 2011
4 Min Read

Yes, I know. You thought you were supposed to worry when the economy was in the tank. Well, I’m here to tell you if you’ve been a lackluster leader you may have worse worries ahead of you.

Here’s why.

Over the past few years, job hopping has pretty much come to a stand still because of the poor economy and job market. Companies weren’t hiring and employees were just plain thankful to have a job.

Given these circumstances, maybe you've been focusing more on financial performance than the proper care and feeding of your team. Now, I'm going to ask you take take a hard look at your own performance as a team leader. Have you neglected some important aspects of nurturing your team? You know what I’m talking about -- things like one-on-one coaching sessions, expressions of appreciation for all they were doing, and small celebrations that kept the team motivated. Without these things you may be leaving your team members feeling undervalued and unmotivated. Many of your team may have one foot out the door and you don’t even know it.

A USA Today article on worker frustration, captured it well.

The boss' perception: Given the rough economy, workers are thrilled just to have a steady paycheck. The employee's reality: Many are frustrated, secretly seeking new opportunities — and soon could be scooped up by another company as the economy recovers.

They aren't the only ones. An interview with employee engagement expert, Bob Kelleher reveals that a third of your employees may be ready to quit. Specifically, Kelleher says,

Expect a return to pre-recession turnover rates in the coming months as the economy slowly rebounds, he says. Not only that, but you’re likely to see an increase in historical turnover rates as employees who might have changed jobs in better times, but who cooled their heels during recession, prepare to jump ship. This “queued-up effect,” as Kelleher calls it, may result in turnover as high as 25 to 30%.

Realizing that team members leave managers, not companies, puts the responsibility for retaining talent squarely on your back. Wow! So what can you do?

Take steps to be a better leader. First you need to fess up and admit to being “not so good” at paying attention to your team members' needs over the past couple of years. Set up a meeting with each person (30 minutes should do the trick), to discuss their hopes and dreams and future with your company. Then start having team health meetings to ensure the entire team is working the most effectively together.

This will get you moving on the right track and may prevent a mass exodus of employees to your competitors. Do it now.

What do you think? Are you at risk of losing your team members to another company? Please leave a comment.

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