Human Resources News & Insights

Easing the fears of an anxious workforce

Here’s a disturbing statistic: More than eight of 10 employees participating in a recent poll said they’d be actively looking for a new job in the coming year.

Eighty-three percent of the nearly 900 workers in a recent online poll from Right Management said they’ll be looking to make a move in 2014. And another 9% said they were considering looking for a new job, so they’re networking.

According to the poll, only 5% of employees intend to stay in their current position.

And there’s more bad news on the employee research front: A recent Washington Post/Miller Center poll indicates that more than six in 10 workers are worried that they’ll lose their jobs as a result of the stagnant economy. Thirty-two percent said they worry “a lot.”

Sure sounds like there’s an awful lot of uneasiness in the workplace. How can employers ease the tension?

Calming the waters

Amy Gallo, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog, outlines some things companies can do when the organization is in dire straits.

Gallo says that, instead of abandoning best common practices, the most skilled leaders reinforce them. She quotes Kim Cameron, a business professor at the University of Michigan: “Good management is good management. Treating people well, helping them flourish, and unlocking potential are all good practices regardless of the environmental circumstances.”

Gallo outlines other steps to keeping a workforce calm, committed and engaged during tough times:

Give the team a larger purpose

To keep people focused, managers should give them something to work toward.  People want to believe their work matters in any situation. This can be tough when the company’s success is no longer the goal, but you might select something that employees value personally — leaving a legacy or proving critics wrong.

Provide reasonable incentives

Companies should find ways to reward good work. Make it clear what people will get if they do their best in this trying time. Will they learn a skill that will help them find their next job?  How will the experience help them grow professionally?

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