Economic Recovery Brings New Staffing Challenges

Although the economy won’t completely recover this year, the SI Review and Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as staffing analysts expect it to greatly improve and we are already seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. As I mentioned in last month’s article, an increase in temporary orders and use of a contingent work force has historically been a sign of growth in all industries. However, the turn from contingent employees to a full-time head count will most likely be slower than in the past due in part to the many challenges facing businesses right now.

A tight credit market, a rise in workers compensation cost, increased unemployment taxes, uncertain healthcare reform, and other industry specific regulations all affect a company’s immediate staffing decisions. Meanwhile, customers want more for less, the knowledge workforce is also making demands. When new hiring is tight, maintaining current top staff becomes more critical. Consider the following ideas to keep your top performers performing for you. 

Calculated fair decisions about bonuses will help keep your number one asset in tact – your people. Although bonus dollars are fewer, if not gone, merit–based pay is difficult to challenge. Many companies widen the difference between payouts to ensure top performers feel appreciated. This is an effective method when there are more dollars to share. However, when it turns into the “haves” and “have nots” where does this leave the average performer? Unfortunately, many companies overlook the negative effects. When a company has been hit by a down year, employees are most concerned about equality. This may be the time to use the “live and die” as a team method. It goes far when the dollars can’t.  Pay-for-performance is only effective if there is a quantitative measure. Precise monitoring and measuring of productivity needs to be clearly communicated to all.

A few interesting statistics published in CFO magazine state that 26 percent of companies are significantly more concerned about losing critical employees today versus before the financial crisis.  Thirty-nine percent are slightly more concerned, and 28 percent have the same level of concern.  Overall, 8 percent of companies are less concerned. How concerned is your leadership team and what steps are being taken to ensure top performers stay? 

It has been proven time and time again that engagement results in increased productivity, happy employees, and happy customers. Leaders and managers need to embrace new ideas and be sure communication with employees is clear. Every employee should understand how his / her role impacts the bottom line and helps achieve the company’s goal.

Each of these ideas may be summed up the best in this month’s Thought of the Month: “People may doubt what you say…but they will always believe what you do.” Next month I will discuss the top 5 motivators our top talent candidates give us for leaving their current role and their criteria in selecting new employers.

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