When the economy turns and jobs start to open back up, why will your people stay? What’s going to entice them to stick around? If you’ve been forced to make cuts over the last few years have you checked in with your employees to see if their still engaged, or better yet somehow inspired? The market is starting to loosen, your stars always had the option to jump, they just had to weigh out if the grass was really greener or not. You see, they have options, they have a network and most have feelers out on the regular.
Check your engagement strategy because you’re going to need one. And if you don’t even have one, you should be working hard to create one, because that war on talent, it’s not going away. If your engagement strategy is to just throw more money at your people (if that’s even possible in this economy) you better think again. Daniel Pink talks a good deal about mastery, autonomy and purpose (you can see it here). In the knowledge economy where wages are competitive with the market rate, he shows us that monetary incentives actually decrease performance levels.
It’s time to get more creative with your engagement strategy. If you haven’t already check out the big players in the space (Google, Zappos, Nordstrom, Starbucks), they keep their employees happy, they empower them and create the space to allow them to get creative and try new things without risk of failure. Innovation is the corporate mantra du jour, innovate or die, so why is it that our people innovations are so limited?
We have access to data, we know the essential components of leadership and we keep hearing that people are our key asset, so why is it that our people strategies aren’t more cutting edge. How can we continue to engage our people with policies and practices that were created to support a different type of worker in a different era? It’s time to think differently about how we engage and manage our people. If we don’t we’re in danger of losing our most valuable asset.