This spring, we're seeing green shoots sprouting in the economy as well as in the ground. Customers are starting to buy and companies are beginning to think about growth instead of retrenchment. While we're not out of the woods yet, there are opportunities in the marketplace and retention needs to be a major focus.
Given that salaries have been frozen or even cut back at many companies, unhappy employees may jump ship at the first opportunity. Creating a work environment that respects each and every member of the team, recognizes their contributions, and encourages open communications is a philosophy that should be ingrained into the DNA of the workplace -- regardless of the economic situation.
What can companies do to create this environment? Transparency is key. Even if the news isn't good, managers should share information with employees, and involve them in brainstorming new ideas and helping the company move in the right direction. Management should engage employees at all levels by keeping an open door policy and meeting with them one-on-one to discuss their concerns and areas of interest for professional development.
At Insight Performance, we've just implemented a new peer recognition program, "SHOUT" -- that recognizes "Super Human Outrageously Ultimate Talent." Employees are encouraged to nominate their colleagues for exceptional work, and we use a megaphone to "shout" the recognition to the team. In addition, the employee is given a gift certificate to a restaurant. While cost-effective and easy to implement, SHOUT is a feel-good program that engages the entire team.
There are many ways to show employees you appreciate them, and it's important to make this a business priority. Valuing employees is not only the right thing to do, but it's also good business. Employees are your ambassadors to customers and the outside world, and are integral to helping grow your business to the next level.