After a year of massive layoffs, longer hours, increased stress and less pay, the number of employees who are actively engaged in their jobs declined 9 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to Watson Wyatt’s Employee Engagement Index. Even more alarming, employee engagement among top-performing workers fell 23 percent in the same period, raising concerns for high employee turnover rates in 2010.
Should Employers Worry?
In a recent online survey by Express Employment Professionals, readers were asked whether they would job hop for a better opportunity in the coming year. Of nearly 800 respondents, 81 percent said, yes, they would job hop in 2010.
What Does This Mean?
Attrition can cost companies thousands of dollars per lost employee and can significantly affect their financial performance. If these surveys are any indication of what is to come, employers could see profits disappear right before their eyes. If employers want a chance to rebound in 2010 and avoid high employee turnover, they must refocus their efforts on employee engagement and make it a top priority.
How Do Employers Get Employees to Re-Engage in 2010?
There are many key tactics, but one tried and true method for rebuilding trust and increasing employee engagement is through communication. A vital component of that is being honest about where the company stands financially, plans for the future and the necessary steps to get there.
Employers should avoid sugarcoating the truth about the situation and making promises they can’t deliver. When employers give employees the opportunity to feel connected to the rise and fall of a business, workers feel personally involved and are usually willing to do whatever it takes to help get the company back into good standing.
An open-door policy is always a great strategy to keep the lines of communication flowing. Employers should encourage their employees to ask questions — no matter the topic — and address concerns honestly — no matter the answer. Employees are more inclined to stay loyal and engaged to a company when they feel their concerns are being thoughtfully considered.
Employers also can increase engagement by showing appreciation and recognizing sacrifices made by everyone in the past year. Companies can do this in a number of ways.
“Businesses can’t shell out quarterly bonuses the way they once did to reward a job well done. It’s important to think of creative ways to reward your employees for their hard work and dedication, and you can do this without a lot of out-of-pocket expense,” said Robert Funk, CEO and co-founder of Express Employment Professionals. “If you don’t take a small amount of money now to invest in engaging your employees, you could be out a lot more later when your employees decide to leave your company for other opportunities when the job market opens back up.”
This recession has had a huge impact on the work force, those who have lost their jobs and those who are worried they’ll be next in the unemployment line. In times such as these, it’s critical to remember that the real reason companies are successful is because of their people. Businesses that invest in and value engagement will achieve higher levels of employee satisfaction, loyalty and — in turn — success.
Those are the companies that will come out on top and rebound in 2010.