A Publication of WTVP

According to Ram Charan, author of Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty, “Diverse parts of the business must be coupled to one another more tightly and linked to the outside world. Plans and progress must be revisited almost daily. Big picture, longer-term, strategic-level thinking cannot be abandoned, but every leader has to be involved, visible and in daily communication. Your new guiding principle must be this: Hands On, Head In.” Would this quote describe you in running your organization or department? Or are you in your own world, hunkered down, waiting for the tough economy to pass?

While many organizations are shrinking their workforces, care must be taken not to lose the most talented employees as an unintended consequence. The way that downsized employees are treated will have a long-term impact on the survivors’ morale, engagement and retention, because high-potential employees will be disproportionately impacted and more likely to seek new opportunities. So what can you do to give this talented group a reason to stay? Create a work environment that fosters employee engagement.

Engaged employees are the ones committed to their jobs and to giving their discretionary effort to their department, their company and their customers. Some things you can do for employees in these difficult times include:

Creating a culture of engagement within your organization is one way to improve productivity and enhance the bottom line, even in a tough economy. According to a recent study of organizations with a high-performing workforce, more than 50 percent reported improvement in employee retention and customer satisfactions; 33 percent reported higher productivity; 28 percent improved employee advocacy; 27 percent improved its status of “great place to work”; 27 percent improved profitability; and 25 percent dropped in absenteeism.

Specific tactics for creating an engaged workforce include:

As a leader, consider the following closing thoughts for creating employee engagement. To have positively engaged teams, you can’t make cuts to profit long-term. Habits—both good and bad—are created in more typical markets. Stay the course, and lead on team, don’t just preach team. iBi