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VOL. 127 | NO. 34 | Monday, February 20, 2012

Chris Crouch

Time For Status Check

By Chris Crouch

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Who knows if it will last, but there are signs that the economy is improving. If the improvement continues, it might be a good time to take a very close look at the status of your key employees.

Of course you should always be doing this, but now more than ever it’s important to do whatever it takes to make sure some of your most valuable assets don’t walk out the door.

According to a CNN Money article published a few months ago, “After being squeezed by bosses looking to maximize productivity, half of U.S. employees are actively eyeing the exits or have a less than favorable opinion of their employers, according to a report from Mercer, an outplacement and consulting firm.” It is not difficult to put this in a simple phrase: Employees are getting restless.

It is extremely difficult to leave your job in a bad economy, so disgruntled employees gut it out, hang in there and keep their less-than-favorable opinions to themselves. On second thought, that is not exactly right.

You probably have two kinds of employees. Employees who are very vocal about their complaints, and steady-as-you-go folks who quietly go about getting their job done and value action (leaving as soon as it makes sense) over words. You will not know these folks were unhappy until they say, as the headline of the CNN Money article states, “I’m outta here!”

In any case, it is time for you to make a list of all the people who work for you, consider each person on the list and ask yourself, “What would happen if this person left tomorrow?”

Now I am a big believer that no one is indispensable. Early in my career, one of my mentors advised me to remain humble because, in the long run (and short run with some people), your departure from any organization will be like pulling your finger out of a glass of water. Things quickly adjust, smooth out, settle down and life goes on. However, in the short run, some people are difficult and costly to replace.

Business leaders are always trying to figure out ways to gain a competitive advantage. How much of a competitive advantage would you enjoy if your competitors’ key employees start bailing out and your key employees remain loyal to your organization? Look at some of the statistics on the high cost of employee turnover and it will not be difficult to answer this question.

Once you make your list and identify your key employees, get creative and find ways to make it exciting for them to come to work each day. Of course, you can’t ignore money issues if they are too far out of line.

However, unhappy people often want more of the three things that motivate many humans: recognition, approval and a greater sense of control over their jobs. Maybe the economic recovery will flounder and keep your key employees around for a bit longer – but I wouldn’t count on it.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

PROPERTY SALES 74 74 17,939
MORTGAGES 95 95 20,660
BUILDING PERMITS 141 141 36,977
BANKRUPTCIES 59 59 11,485