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A Guide to Retain Valuable Employees During a Crisis

All businesses experience massive changes at multiple points in their life-cycle. Large companies, mid-size firms, as well as start-ups, face all kinds of challenges due to external as well as internal factors. In times of crisis, businesses face a huge risk of loss. The loss can be in terms of clients, finances or even valuable employees. Whether that crisis is a natural calamity, man-made disaster, market crash, workplace conflicts or a global pandemic like COVID-19. During times like these, the management and leaders need to cater to the resulting issues like change of work style, client demands, increasing cost, employee motivation, and so much more. However, most of these resulting issues can be taken care of when you have a strong and valuable workforce. They are assets to the organization and it is extremely important to retain valuable employees during a crisis.

Why do employees leave an organization during a crisis?

In a crisis, employees might leave due to fear of losing their job, uncertainty, health issues (both mental as well as physical) brought on by the stress of the crisis, negative morale, and lack of support from the organizations. This is when the management needs to take on the role of a leader rather than that of a boss. The leaders of the team or company need to provide a healthy workplace environment. There needs to be a focus on culture, motivation, encouragement, and communication methods, so that the employees feel optimistic, supported and motivated to do their job.

Why should you retain valuable employees during a crisis?

As mentioned before, valuable employees are assets to an organization. They are driven, passionate, and extremely skilled at their job. So retaining such employees ensures that the company will climb out of the crisis stronger than ever. Valuable employees define the smooth working of the business, better decision-making, improved sales and profits, higher company morale, better change management, and innovation.

That’s why employee retention becomes the most important task for the management and HR team to pursue. A strong workforce will be able to handle challenging times and changing business needs. They will be equipped to improvise and keep the company afloat.

Therefore, it is of prime importance for the management to analyze all the employees and recognize the ones that add value to the organization in order to retain them. Here is how you can retain valuable employees during a crisis;

1. Include them in the decision-making process

The top-level management makes important decisions on a regular basis. In times of crisis, decision-making becomes extremely vital. When valuable employees are included in the decision-making process, they make them feel like an important part of the organization. This will give the employees a larger sense of responsibility and working for the company will be of utmost importance to them. They will be more dedicated and motivated towards their job and feel a greater sense of purpose at what they do. This is a significant technique to boost employee morale and retain valuable employees during a crisis.

2. Employee recognition and awards

When employees are recognized for their hard work, they will be willing to do more of it. During challenging times, employees work harder than usual but oftentimes they are not appreciated for it. The management should take the time out to hold appreciation or recognition events on a regular basis to celebrate their valuable employees. While it does not have to be an elaborate affair, even a 10-minute standing meeting makes a difference to the employees who are being appreciated. This will ensure that the employees feel valued. This will motivate them to work harder and also be loyal. When employees are rewarded for an excellent job, they will feel connected to the workplace and continue to strive to reach even greater heights.

3. Increments and rewards

Monetary hikes or increments are a great technique to retain valuable employees during a crisis. When an employee feels like they are getting valued for their work, it instills a work ethic in them to strive for higher rewards. But, these monetary hikes don’t necessarily need to be a jump in actual salary figures. They can be offered as shares and other kinds of perks and rewards. This upgrades their role in an organization and motivates them to climb up the corporate ladder.

4. Training and development opportunities

Employees will feel more job-ready when they are trained for internal changes. During a crisis, the company undergoes various changes in terms of communication and on-the-job work. If the management is employing a new technology or a new skill set in such times, they should arrange for effective and useful training and development programs. This will improve the confidence of the employees and they have better clarity about their roles and responsibilities in a changing work environment. They also feel like they are being invested in by the company and this boosts their loyalty.

5. Automate redundant work

Efficient use of technology can reduce a lot of redundant work like tedious paperwork, managing books of accounts, manual data management, etc. When the redundant work reduces, employees can focus more on the challenging tasks. This will make them feel more purposeful, improve their self-esteem, and sense of purpose. It will also ignite their creativity and sense of innovation, which they will bring to the problems their company is facing during a crisis.

6. Give them autonomy

When valuable employees have earned it, give them more autonomy to do their work the way they see fit. This lets them know that you trust their work and their judgement. they will continue to work just as hard if not harder, and just as diligently so that they can continue to enjoy the autonomy they are receiving.

7. Ask for feedback and act-on it

Regular surveys, suggestion box, live polls, and other feedback strategies, preferably anonymous, will ensure that the employee is heard. This allows employees to suggest and put forth great ideas about processes and procedures or the style of working without feeling like they might be targeted or penalized for their suggestion. Moreover, the company should take every feedback seriously and work upon making serious changes based on them.

What are the results of retaining valuable employees during a crisis

Employee retention strategies, when used correctly, will ensure that the top employees who add value in the organization, are content and motivated in their job and will probably not leave the company. Rather they will take it upon themselves to help get the company back on track during a crisis. Employee retention strategies will result in;

  • Better internal management and control
  • High employee morale and engagement
  • Reduced cost of employee turnover
  • Better decision-making Increased sales and profits
  • Positive work environment
  • Better social and financial health of the organization

When the company provides a high level of comfort, support, and empathy to the employees, the employees in turn provide a high level of output. Many companies focus their entire culture around customer satisfaction, and even more so during a crisis. However, no customer is entirely happy with their experience if the internal stakeholders are unhappy. Therefore, companies should focus on how to retain valuable employees during a crisis to improve the overall efficiency and productivity of the company.

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