Bosses Beware of Employee Flight in 2011

take this job and shove it.
Image by Divine Harvester via Flickr

Unemployment sucks, but for those still working, sometimes the remaining jobs suck even more.

Bosses! Own up and Beware!

If you are one of the Employers out there who are taking crude advantage of your remaining employees after layoffs, beware of the tide that is about to turn.

The economy is showing more secure signs of recovery and there are more employment options opening up.

Many reports are surfacing that predict 2011 will begin a mass exodus of employees looking for a better job. Better start realizing that when conditions are bad, your people will only stay loyal as long as they see no other alternative.

A recent survey reveals 84 percent of U.S. employees plan to look for new jobs in 2011 – up from 60 percent a year ago. Only 5 percent want to stay at their current position.

Don’t wait until they start leaving…

So, those of you budget obsessed employers out there – just how long do you think your remaining employees will put up with the heavier workload, budget cuts, cancelled raises, lousy morale and fear of more layoffs and cutbacks? Should they really be “thankful just to have a job?” Added workloads, extended hours, postponed or eliminated raises and bonuses, and more – not a pretty picture for most employees.

Many who have seen their co-workers laid off have already updated and posted new résumés anonymously on the job boards. They have vowed to be better prepared in case they too are laid off. They are networking – getting the word out they are available if something better comes along. They are tired of bad working conditions no matter how loyal they may have been in the past.

So, what should you do?

Decide the value of those whom you still are employing.
Are you willing to take the chance they will leave? Are you so sure they are still happy enough to stay? Are they going to stay content to keep hearing your excuse that “times are tough for all of us?” Oh, Please!

Evaluate the results of your cutbacks
Be realistic. Take a long look at the results of your budget cuts. Did they achieve the desired results or have you created new problems? Just making the cuts does not guarantee better cash flow. If you didn’t plan proactively for the resulting effects, you may have caused more problems with increased error rates, lower productivity and higher customer dissatisfaction.

Boost Morale!
If you can’t afford raises or hiring on more help again to lighten the workload, find other ways to show them you aren’t taking them for granted. Recognize their extra efforts with praise and small favors until you can afford more. If you are avoiding them because you know they are unhappy, you are only making matters worse!

Tension is at an all time high for fear of more layoffs. They have a right to know what is happening. Share your profit margins and expenses. Include them in decisions to cut costs. Hear their concerns. If they feel they had a part in some of the decisions, they may feel more connected to the business rather than shut out and worried about future “surprises.”

And listen closely to see if they are singing this song …

(or posting on twitter or facebook!)

5 Ways to Save Money Hiring the Unemployed

Have you been hiring cheap because you are afraid to hire better?

Are you afraid that those better qualified will leave when something better comes along?

Are you settling for less qualified labor just to save money?

HUH?  Are you NUTS? The job applicant pool is incredibly better than ever due to the many layoffs and forced retirements.

Yes, they are used to higher wages than you may normally be able to afford, but with only 6 month of unemployment insurance in most cases, these highly qualified people need jobs, too, and are willing to accept less, even far less in some cases.

Even better, many are unwilling to go back to the corporate world and would love to work at a smaller business – less stress, more casual atmosphere, and many other attractive  attributes are common to small business.

In addition, you can potentially save on office space and equipment since many corporate refugees have well equipped home offices and could work from home for you.

Just think, hiring better… hmmm. What a load off your mind. Sit back and imagine these 5 results of hiring better qualified staff …

  1. You’ll be less stressed with a qualified staff that can be empowered and trusted to make decisions within your guidelines.
  2. You’ll have HAPPY customers because they don’t have to wait until someone can “ask the owner/manager” before they can solve the problem.
  3. You’ll spend less time training a staff that not only could easily assimilate the duties of your business, but also can help your business grow because of their experience and know how.
  4. You’ll save money in terms of productivity with a staff that has OFFICE computer skills, social media savvy, operations knowledge, accounting skills, and more.
  5. And last but not least … OMG – Yes, these higher qualified people will attract more customers because they actually have excellent PEOPLE SKILLS!!!

Worst case scenario, even if they only work 1 year because they later find a much higher level position, think of how much they could up-level your business in just that one year…

Why, oh why, aren’t you taking advantage of all these skilled workers who are struggling to find work???

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Focus on Where You Want to Go

Wayne Gretzky“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

~ both great quotes from  Wayne Gretzky

I have these quotes on my office wall reminding me it isn’t really about change, it’s about GROWTH.

If you only concentrate on what is, you get more of what is. If you focus on where you want to go – to go where the puck is going to be – you will move forward. In other words, if you are focused on existing problems, you aren’t open to creating new and better strategies and solutions.

Where do you want to go next?

UPDATE FEB 2014: Watching the USA beat Russia in the Sochi Olympics renewed the inspiration from these quotes. As time has passed, my business has grown more successful because I am keeping my eye on where the puck is going to be…

 UPDATE: Oct. 2012
I originally posted this blogpost 1 week after I was laid off my job. I’m proud to say that since then, I have explored – a lot – and focused on where I wanted to be… and won! It’s been over 2 years now, and some of it was really rough, but I have a business of my own now. While continuing to apply for a new position in Communications and Marketing, I couldn’t help but recognize that many of my peers were having little to no success in the same situation of job hunting. It was the first time in my career years that I had applied with no response, or occasionally, rejection. The glut of applicants – many far younger and less experienced, were winning out because  it is assumed boomers, like me, are often considered too experienced and therefore less likely to accept a lower salary or less likely to stay when a better position might come along.

It is easy to get discouraged, but blogging and social media kept me engaged and enthusiastic about possibilities! My experience working with SMBs and NPOs gave me the confidence to provide these same services on my own. I have a long way to go to meet the salary I am accustomed to, but the benefits of working for myself, on my schedule, from a home office and being available for my family, I feel fortunate I was pushed to take all the shots to succeed on my own.

Can’t wait to see what the future brings…!

What kind of leader are YOU?

What kind of leader are you?

  • The Controller who can’t trust to delegate?
  • The Rule maker deciding everything on your own?
  • The “Re-inventor” constantly reinventing the wheel without listening to others’ input?
  • The Observer and Mentor?

Or fill in the blank….

I’ve worked under a lot of leaders in varying positions. From CEO’s on down…

In my experience, the successful ones have always been those who took the time to observe and mentor.

Why? If you are the Controller, you can’t effectively lead if you are mired in the minutiae and refusing to delegate. How can you see how well your people perform, or how much can you notice how your customers are responding, and when do you have time to process the progress or lack of it if your head is down heading the charge off to handle every next crisis? And these crises most likely would not always be arising if you allowed management the autonomy and authority to handle situations before they became problems.

Nor can you grow your company with nothing but “yes men or women.” In my observations, the yes person is usually the one doing their best to stay under the radar so that no one will notice that they are actually the underperformers… Of course they will say yes! If they say no, that means more work is required to determine how to get to yes. So naturally, to say yes to everything is to maintain status quo. It also feeds the assumption that problems are actually being handled when in fact they aren’t. Your most valuable people are the ones who have the courage to say “no.” But with the “yes person” leader, those who say no will be let go or will slip away because they are resented for noticing what is going wrong…

The “re-inventor” is the one who usually thinks they are throwing out the old in favor of new, but then usually falls right back into the same old wheel – because oftentimes, in reality, the old wheel really has a stable hub and only some of the spokes need to be replaced and the rim sanded smooth. But, as usual with the “re-inventor,” a lot of extra work and money goes into creating a whole new wheel that looks pretty much like the old one.

I’ll stick with the observer and mentor who hires and recognizes those who know more than him/herself because that is the only way to grow – to surround yourself with talent! And to watch over your company like a parent watches over a child. Staying close enough to keep them out of danger, but far enough away to let them stumble and fall and get back up even stronger.

What experiences have you had with the various leaders in your work life?