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It's Starting -- Employee Turnover Rises with GDP

The season has arrived for a spike in employee turnover.  Do your employees still feel they've sacrificed for your business, and that you've never made it up to them?   If you put your employee hat on, would you still feel like you're in the hole income-wise?  It may be time for you to shell out -- either some raises or some "we made it" bonuses. 

There's a pervasive continuing attitude among business owners that "they're lucky to have jobs."  Employees don't see it that way -- the music playing in their heads goes more like "I took a pay cut (reduced hours, no bonus, etc. -- you fill in the blank), and I haven't seen anything in return."

What they do see is increased orders, increased backlog, increased expectations, increased workload (productivity is up -- you're doing more with less, right?), and in many cases no increase in compensation.   And they're starting to vote with their feet, according to a recent Wall Street Journal online (wsj.com) article. 

This article is a "wake up call" for business owners.   If you haven't done anything meaningful (in the pay envelope) to recognize those who believe they helped pull your company through the recession, it's time to think about it.  And it's surely time to look at the "soft" side of turnover, as well -- specifically: 
  • Engagement -- Employees, particularly GenY'ers, want to feel their jobs mean something in the big picture.  Have you reminded them lately of the good things your company's products or services do for the world at large? 
  • Trust -- Do they feel they have been, and are being treated fairly?  Perception is reality. 
  • Appreciation -- The more personal, the better -- have you let them know (lately) that you appreciate them, their work, their contribution, etc.?  A personal note or conversation means a lot.  Likewise, a company event (picnic, pizza lunch, etc.) could be a good platform for an appreciation talk by yourself. 
  • Opportunity -- What can employees who have stuck with you expect in the future?  (Take off your "lucky to have a job" hat -- that one's not selling any more)
We'll be discussing this topic at upcoming Local Board meetings of Chief Executive Boards International.  True to our "we share ideas" tagline, we also try to provide forward radar for business owners -- to alert them to emerging trends and potential potholes before they fall into them personally.  Experience is the worst teacher -- it gives the test before it presents the lesson.  Better to learn from someone else's experience.


Terry Weaver
Chief Executive Boards International
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