Many employees have experienced several economic downturns in their careers. During downturns, it is as important as ever to focus on your people. There are several reasons why:
Employees will have to do more with less
As your organization reacts to changing markets, employees will have to do more with less. At the same time, your employees may be concerned about whether or not they will be able to keep their jobs.
Baby Boomers and Traditionalists may be concerned about their personal financial situation or the security of their jobs. Gen Xers and Gen Ys will manage their concerns by updating their resumes, budgeting for the eventuality of downsizing and actively considering other employment options.
The more leaders involve employees in creating the solutions to your business’ challenges, the more you will mitigate their concerns and worry. Fear and worry cause people to be less productive, because their minds are distracted by matters other than the work at hand.
Younger cohorts have multiple skill sets
For years both Gen Xers and Gen Ys have focused on developing multiple skill sets.
Gen Xers have already experienced several downturns in the economy throughout their careers and Gen Ys are often very flexible and adaptable. In addition, many Gen Ys have the support of their parents and may choose not to work somewhere if they are not happy.
For Gen Xers and Gen Ys, an economic downturn may be an opportunity to go back to school, volunteer or work abroad. Addressing their needs during a tough period will keep them more engaged and you will be more likely to retain them.
What employees experience today, impacts your recruitment & retention success tomorrow
Regardless of your organization’s current situation, HR professionals and leaders need to recognize that how you treat employees now may impact your ability to recruit and retain talent when the economy returns to a positive cycle.
If you don’t treat employees fairly now, you run the risk that they will jump ship the moment the labour market allows them to do so.
Gen Ys, who have high expectations of corporate social responsibility, consider the treatment of employees as a factor when evaluating your organization’s level of responsibility. They are often very connected with their ‘pack’ and are fantastic viral messengers. Many Gen Ys use the internet to warn each other of corporate cultures that are not engaging. This may impact Gen Ys’ decisions to come, leave or stay with your organization.
Gen Xers and Baby Boomers also use the web to research the reputation of organizations, so what you do now is bound to be broadcast through Twitter, Facebook or a blog. This could impact your future ability to get, keep and grow all four generations of employees.