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Are Employees Like Your Teenagers?

January 27, 2011

I’ve always said that having employees is similar to having teenagers around all the time (and I can say that because my, once, teenagers are all grown). You’re never sure just how to talk to them, what you can say or what you can’t say. You never know what mood they are going to be in when they arrive at work. You try your best to educate them about what you want done without having them roll their eyes. And you just try to get the work done before you scream, “wait till your mom gets home.”

With the economy in the condition it currently is in, companies are apparently worried about loosing critical employees…and they have reason to be. Some savvy firms are already trying to pick off the cream of the crop, and when the job market improves, more workers will gratefully seize the opportunity to jump ship. Now is the time to hang on to the most valuable employees. According to a survey from The Conference Board, 22% of workers want to switch jobs as soon as they can. Recruiting, and training a replacement, plus the loss in productivity, can cost up to three times a wage earner’s annual pay. Employees with the most important skills will leave first. Later on, the floodgates will start to open, though probably not until the jobless rate falls to 7% or so. That’s not expected until 2012 at the earliest. Now is the time for companies to take preventive steps while asking staffers to do more for less. Employers can take some relatively easy and low-cost steps, such as:

  • Show appreciation. Offer flexible hours and telecommuting options. Say “thanks” and “well done” whenever they’re deserved.
  • Take an interest in career goals and emphasize training opportunities. If promotion slots are few, offer lateral moves that allow workers the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and increase their skills.
  • Keep promises, if at all possible.
  • Reduce unnecessary tasks – maybe make monthly reports quarterly instead.
  • Save that cash you have for the most important people on your staff. That may be the line foreman rather than the vice president.

I like to think of myself as a really good guy, but I do get weirded out when I realize I am the only one in the office that watches “Gossip Girl.”  Take generational differences into account. No one size fits all. What attracts a 20-something technology whiz who hates being ties to a desk can be very different from a seasoned baby boomer’s wants. Flexibility in schedule and in tasks assigned, autonomy, company stability are keys. At Gunwel we know what it is like to start a business, run one and make it through the ups and downs. Give us a call today at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. GAI ( want s to help with all issues concerning your business. And no worries about the teenagers, as they do grow out of it! lol

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 31, 2011 4:21 pm

    Great post and having been “around the block” a few times, so true of companies!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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