It can be difficult to hang onto employees when a recession is looming. With the cost of living on the rise, many people are finding it hard to even make it to the next pay cheque. This can lead to staff looking for other jobs with higher rates of pay or better benefits, even if their current employer is in a stable financial position.

In this blog post, I am going to discuss some ways that business can improve their chances of retaining employees during a crisis. No one wants to lose top talent that is bringing in leads and getting high-quality work out the door. Nor does anyone want to be making redundancies.

So we need to think of effective and reasonable ways in which we can keep our top performers on board.


Why Is Retention Important?


The obvious answer is that it can be costly to replace even one role. The process of advertising, interviewing and training new staff can take up a lot of time and money that most of us simply don’t have right now.

Secondly, if you have high performers in your team, it can be crucial for results purposes to keep them around. They are the ones who are meeting targets and helping to bring in new business. Losing them can have a negative impact on morale within the team as well as on productivity levels.

Furthermore, good staff know your business inside out. They understand your processes and how things work. This knowledge is valuable and takes time and experience to build up. So losing experienced staff can set your business back in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, even if you’re looking to higher for a top-level role.

When it comes to retaining employees in a crisis, the market can become unstable and people begin to feel unprepared and unsafe. This is when we see them jumping ship to find something they believe will tide them over better than their current role.


Flexibility is Key


Especially at a time like this, staff may need to be cut some slack. This could mean many things. Perhaps being more lenient on start and finish times, or offering the option to work from home a few days a week.

Another way to show flexibility is through salaries. If you can afford it, offer employees the chance to have their salary reviewed after six months instead of the usual 12. This will show that you are willing to invest in them and their future with your company.

Or even see if you can implement a new bonus scheme driven by individual performance to boost their pockets a little while times are tough.

Of course, not all businesses will be able to offer such things but being open and honest about the situation can go a long way. Your team need to feel like they can trust you and that you have their best interests at heart – even if that means making some sacrifices.

Similarly, now is the time to be understanding if employees need to delegate a potential project to someone else on the team. We all need to pick up the pace, but retaining employees during a crisis means remembering that they are going through it too. You never know what is happening outside of work and so if they need to ease the pressure slightly while they get back on track – it’s important to try catering to that.


Engage Remote Employees


We’ve all been there, it can be easy to become disengaged with how your work-from-home staff are getting on and how they are being affected by job satisfaction (or lack thereof). But with remote work a requirement for many employees nowadays, it is important we don’t forget about them.

Managers and owners need to step up to ensure remote workers feel like a valued part of the team, even if they’re not in the office every day. This means setting up regular catch-ups, whether that’s through video conferencing or just a quick phone call.

It’s also worth considering how you can help remote employees with their work/life balance. Perhaps there is some flexibility around start and finish times? Or the option to take a longer lunch break so they can tend to things at home?

retaining employees during a crisis

Again, it all comes down to being understanding and flexible where possible. We are all trying to navigate our way through this pandemic and retaining employees during a crisis is only possible if we all pull together.

It is also possible to get them involved in office meetings. Don’t leave them out of an invite, they can always dial in virtually if they feel they have something to contribute. This way they will still be able to share their ideas and it will help to build a continued line of communication.

Job satisfaction is hugely about feeling part of something bigger. Leaving them out of things your in-house team are part of is going to dampen that massively.


Incentivise Staff to Stay


As well as being understanding, try to be proactive in your approach to retaining employees during a crisis. This could mean offering staff additional training in-house so they feel like their development is still a priority, even when budgets are tight.

Alternatively, you could look at ways to incentivise staff to stay with the company. This could be anything from offering a bonus at the end of the year or gifting them extra holiday days when you know the pace has picked up and could be burning people out.

Of course, if you have the budget for it, you could offer salary increases for those who stay with the company for a certain amount of time. This would show willing and act as a token of gratitude and recognition for their hard work – keeping the business ticking over during a rough period.

Whatever you do, try to show your staff that you are still committed to retaining them during a crisis. This will go a long way in ensuring they stick around for the long haul.


Cost-Saving Measures


Salaries are always going to be a business’s biggest cost. However, it is also usually one of the last things you want to have to cut back on. Avoiding redundancies is not only going to benefit the business in terms of bandwidth and results, but it will mitigate the risk of others feeling like their job is on the line.

Cost-cutting exercises are not just for at home. Organisations should be thinking about what they could do to save in certain areas. getting the employees involved and sharing their own thoughts on priorities is a great place to start.

This could mean looking at your office space and seeing if you could downsize to save on rent. Or, figuring out which departments are under-utilising certain tools that could be gotten rid of without jeopardising productivity.

There are plenty of cost-saving measures out there and retaining employees during a crisis doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Sometimes it’s just about being creative and thinking outside the box.

Ask Them What They Want To See


Finally, one of the best things you can do during a rough period is to simply ask your team what they want from the company. This could be done through an anonymous survey or by encouraging open and honest conversations in meetings.

Do they feel like their voices are being heard? Do they have any suggestions on how the company could save money without impacting their job satisfaction? Are there any benefits they feel are missing that would make them more likely to stay with the organisation?

Asking for feedback shows that you value your employees’ opinions and want to work with them to find solutions that work for everyone. It’s a two-way process and keeping them on board is only possible if you’re willing to listen to what they have to say.


Retaining Employees During a Crisis


In times like this, everything seems twice as difficult – especially where your people are involved. But it is possible. By being understanding, proactive and open to feedback, you can weather the storm and come out the other side with your team intact.

Considering extra incentives to keep morale up and remind them that you’re still invested in their development and well-being is something that won’t necessarily break the bank but allow them to remain engaged.

Similarly, if you need help finding extra cost-saving measures or implementing anything new – talk to your team. If you are still unsure, then I will always be more than happy to advise you and offer support for navigating the market. Just get in touch and we can have a chat!