Your Most Valuable Asset

It seems that announcements of job loses are becoming an every day part of our lives as the recession picks up speed.

This week alone I’ve heard about people being made redundant by phone, redundant by an A4 message taped in the shop window and redundant an hour before their shift ends. Lack of money should not be an excuse for lack of manners!

Employers are pretty keen to rid themselves of dead wood as soon as things look a little bleak, but maybe sometimes they are a little too hasty. When things get better, and they will get better, they may find themselves loaded with a huge recruitment cost.

Lots of employers are looking at different ways to keep staff in work. Many car manufacturers have implemented 4 day weeks or ‘work holidays’. The Honda factory in Swindon has closed for 4 months. My husband’s employer has decided to cut all staff pay by 20% (I have to say this wouldn’t have been my reduction of choice!)

How companies deal with the recession will have a big impact on what happens later down the line and maybe some organisations need to give some though to being more understanding and more flexible. Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset and recognising this (by listening to them) will help weather the storm.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) last year offered a 9 point strategy for staff retention.

All are pretty useful but the ones that stand out in the current economic climate are:

  • Consult employees – ensure wherever possible that employees have a ‘voice’ through consultative bodies, regular appraisals, attitude surveys and grievance systems. This will provide dissatisfied employees with a number of mechanisms to sort out problems before resigning. Where there is no opportunity to voice dissatisfaction, resigning is the only option.
  • Be flexible – wherever possible accommodate individual preferences on working hours and times. Where people are forced to work hours that do not suit their domestic responsibilities they will invariably be looking for another job which can offer such hours.
  • Avoid the development of a culture of ‘presenteeism’ – where people feel obliged to work longer hours than are necessary simply to impress management. Evaluation of individual commitment should be based on results achieved and not on hours put in.
  • Job security – provide as much job security as possible. Employees who are made to feel that their jobs are precarious may put a great deal of effort in to impress, but they are also likely to be looking out for more secure employment at the same time. Security and stability are greatly valued by most employees.
  • Treat people fairly – never discriminate against employees. A perception of unfairness, whatever the reality when seen from a management point of view, is a major cause of voluntary resignations. While the overall level of pay is unlikely to play a major role unless it is way below the market rate, perceived unfairness in the distribution of rewards is very likely to lead

My husband has now managed to negotiate a 4 day week which means he can look after the children while I can do extra work. Other employees have encouraged their staff to get second jobs, work from home and work flexible hours.

Keeping staff motivated is also an issue when people are struggling with ‘bigger problems’ at home. Last year HR Zone wrote a useful article on Crunch time: Retaining staff through motivation.

A lack of motivation doesn’t just impact productivity and retention. Philips points out that in the instantly accessible web world we’re now part of, disgruntled employees have more online outlets to vent their frustrations, such as blogs and social networking sites. A bad reputation soon seeps out from behind closed doors, possibly damaging brand and even recruitment if employees look you up, warts and all.

No need to moan here. I am lucky enough to work for what I believe to be a transparent organisation whom supports its staff, where ever they work.

And I’d just like “Thanks“.

4 thoughts on “Your Most Valuable Asset

  1. Pingback: Woot! What’s Buzzing Now? » Blog Archive » #20 Overusing the Phrase “in This Economy” « Stuff Unemployed …

  2. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  3. Hello !!!!🙂
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I’v found your blog very interesting
    And want to ask you: what was the reasson for you to start this blog?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Tnx!
    Your Piter Kokoniz, from Latvia

  4. Hi Piter,

    Thanks!

    I really started the blog as a way to collect together all my thoughts (ramblings) on being a remote worker (see my first entry). I’d just taken on the role of remote worker champion where I work and wanted to be able to share my thoughts with other UKOLN staff.

    I talk about what difference the blog has made to the way I do things in a recent post on 6 months of blogging.

    Are you thinking of starting a blog? Or do you work from home?

    Marieke

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