Employee Retention is Key – Even During a Recession


The recession isn’t stopping people from job hunting if they feel overworked and underappreciated.

Right now, The Bagg Group is mid-way through a three-month survey of private and public organizations in the GTA. And the results are confirming something that doesn’t come as much of a surprise to us.

In the wake of cutbacks, many employees who are being asked to do more, with less, are feeling overwhelmed and overburdened. And that leaves the majority of employers, in all sectors, concerned about employee morale and productivity.

Human resource professionals in the GTA may take some small consolation in knowing they’re not alone in their concern. A Deloitte survey just came out of the UK that shows as many as 44% of business leaders are worried about the decline in employee morale in their workplace.

GTA employers have good reason to seek human resource solutions to this problem. We know that when employees are stretched thin, they can feel disengaged from their work and make more mistakes.

A 2005 report from the Families and Work Institute on the results of a massive study confirms that overburdened employees can negatively affect a company’s bottom line.

Here’s another reason to take action: No one can afford to lose their best talent. And even in this bleak economy, good employees are seeking other job opportunities when they’re unhappy in their present position.

Recently, the Globe and Mail reported on a study that found only 31% of Canadians are less likely to seek different employment because of the recession. The rest of the employees surveyed said they’re prepared to job hunt if necessary. And there are companies who consider this is an opportune time to recruit the cream of the crop.

With more than 30 strong years in recruitment to our credit, The Bagg Group has helped employers, and employees, through several recessions. Here’s our number one piece of advice: Implement best practices to keep your employees engaged, particularly during difficult times.

Definitive workplace studies, along with my expertise as head of the leading temporary, contract and full-time recruitment agency in the GTA, confirm that workers feel less burdened, regardless of how much work they have to do when:

  • Employees feel supported by management,
  • Employees feel they are using their skills effectively,
  • Employees are allowed some flexibility in managing their work life.

And here’s an interesting note that human resource professionals can take heart from. Employees are not unhappy having lots to do, provided the work allows them to grow professionally.

The most disgruntled workers are bored ones, who feel they are wasting too much of their day on tasks that don’t require their skills and knowledge, according to a recent North American study of one million employees by Sirota Survey Intelligence.

At the Bagg Group, that study supports what we know from the many who call us. People want to feel their day is spent meaningfully.

That’s why the best employers in the GTA assign work appropriately, making sure of a match between skill and task. It’s productive to challenge an employee to stretch, it’s defeating to ask someone to spend precious hours on activities that require a lower skill level.

Where that’s not possible, the top employers use temporary workers, or contract workers. The key is to ensure the recruitment agency carefully screens these employees to make sure they are highly competent and eager to take on those responsibilities.

Find out if your employees are feeling overburdened. If they are, sit down with them to figure out what extra tasks they’re doing that can be shelved for now, or reassigned either to an appropriate colleague or a temporary worker. That discussion could go a long way to boosting morale, productivity, and your bottom line.

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