As the U.S. economy begins to recover and jobs become more widely available, workers can choose whether to remain with their current employers or to go elsewhere. In fact, leaders who are looking ahead to better economic days are worried about whether and how they can retain their key employees. Here are six strategies that will help organizations ensure their workers are engaged now and in the foreseeable future, along with the “why” and “how” of each strategy.

1. Make employees a high priority

Why: (a) Employees who are a high priority serve customers well, which means that everyone benefits; and (b) when employees feel that senior management really cares about them, their productivity, morale, and engagement increase.

How: Develop an employee-centered workplace®, which is an environment in which every person, program, process, and system is focused on helping employees be fully successful.

2. Embrace the concept of doing “LESS with less”

Why: (a) This approach recognizes the fallacy of doing “more with less,” and (b) because employees are more productive and less stressed, morale increases.

How: Prioritize by focusing relentlessly on the organization’s mission, then jettison everything that does not support the mission.

3. Ensure alignment with the “big picture”

Why: Employees who feel they are part of something bigger than themselves are more engaged and committed, and they have higher morale than those who feel no connection.

How: Ensure that each employee sees clearly (a) the organization’s “big picture” AND (b) the contribution he/she makes to achieving it.

4. Develop an appreciative culture

Why: (a) A positive environment encourages employee engagement, increases collaboration and morale, and decreases defensiveness; and (b) a little appreciation = a huge ROI.

How: Have leaders insist on, and model, positive language and behaviors.

5. Show employees they have choices

Why: When people feel they have more control, their focus, productivity, engagement, morale, and self-confidence tend to increase.

How: Teach employees how to develop framing skills and make healthy choices about how to manage their situations.

6. Incorporate procedural fairness into organizational decision-making

Why: (a) Employees will accept negative outcomes IF they believe the decision-making processes are fair; and (b) fair processes increase trust.

How: Ensure all processes incorporate the elements of procedural fairness.

Leaders who have implemented these six strategies should have a high level of confidence in their ability to retain key employees. Those who are missing some or all of the strategies are likely to see their turnover skyrocket as the recovery gains momentum – and it will be the good performers who leave in droves, not the mediocre or poor ones. Which outcome do you foresee for your organization? And if you don’t like the answer, what do you plan to do about it?

Author's Bio: 

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.