Uptick in Economy may Mean Diminished Retention for Employers

Since 2008, any employer would be lying if they didn’t admit that it’s an hirer’s market. Any HR pro knows, if you’re hiring, there’s a sea of qualified candidates out there ready to fill any given position. While an improving economy is music to nearly everyone’s ears, there may be some unseen consequences for employers. All of those underpaid, under-appreciated employees that have been put on the back burner and mistreated, may finally have the opportunity to quit. If rewards and recognition, and company culture, are priorities for your business, then this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’ve perhaps grown a bit advantageous in the last few years however, you may want to rethink your position, or you’ll be in for a negative surprise.

Many employers have grown confident that employees won’t leave, not because of what they’re offering them, but because of the lack of work elsewhere. As the job market improves, so will opportunities for employees. Employees aren’t likely to forget all of the extra hours worked, lack of pay raises, and lack of any appreciation at all from their employers.

“Most companies are probably not fully prepared for all the … pent up turnover that is likely to come when the job market really turns around,” said business professor at the University of Memphis, David G. Allen.

Allen is in a unique position to comment on this topic, because he has studied retention, and employee turnover quite thoroughly. Many employers struggle with finding qualified talented, but don’t focus on attracting and retaining it. Qualified employees are always going to be able to find work elsewhere, regardless of the economy. So instead of focusing on recruiting, perhaps employers should focus on making their company one employees want to work at.

“People are saying that they can’t find the right talent, and yet when they do, they don’t take such good care of it,” said senior vice president of AMA Enterprise, an offshoot of the American Management Association, Sandi Edwards. AMA Enterprise helps companies improve their employees.

Any employer out there who thinks that they can get away with treating employees poorly because of the economy, is going to be in for a rude awakening. Rewarding and recognizing hard work, and fostering a positive workplace culture, are not only ways to make your workers more happy, healthy, and productive, they help improve retention as well. So HR pros, maybe the economy has lulled you and your associates into a false sense of security, thinking that the power is all in your hands, and your employees will be forced to put up with less than ideal working conditions. If that’s the case, the don’t be surprised if as soon as the economy becomes strong again, you get a wave of two week notices. No matter how you look at it, high turnover is not good for business.

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