Tips to Stimulate Your Workforce

As organizations worldwide are cutting budgets and headcount in an effort to remain viable, they must also keep their employees engaged and stimulate workforce productivity. According to the Workforce Institute at Kronos, organizations can stimulate their workforce by following the tips cited below:

Leadership is More Critical Than Ever:
-Get extremely focused on setting and aligning employees around key business goals. It is critical that everyone in the organization be spending time on those things that matter most for the company's survival. Set realistic goals.

-Employees will be looking to their managers to share the pain of wage freezes, reductions of perks, and increased workloads driven by headcount reductions.

-Paying attention to employee engagement as a key business driver is as important now as it is when employees may have more opportunities elsewhere in the market.

Involve Employees in Business Improvement Efforts
-The employees closest to the work can have great impact on improving revenue and margin opportunities.

-Being assigned to a strategic project is often viewed as a reward/recognition for above-average performance and when these projects dry up, it can negatively impact top performers. Creating strategic initiatives focused on operating improvements provides learning and recognition opportunities for top performers while driving needed organizational efficiencies.

-Conduct company-wide contests for ideas on how to improve operational efficiency. If you want to get really creative, turn such an initiative into an American Idol-type format, hopefully without the lunatics. Winners can receive monetary rewards equal to a percentage of the savings/benefits generated.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Complete transparency is difficult when individuals' jobs are on the line, however keeping the lines of communication open about what's happening in the market and what the organization is doing to respond is critical to keeping employees engaged and productive. In the absence of information, employees will assume the worst case scenario.

Talent Management is Still Important
- Help employees use the recession as a chance to take on new challenges and build their skills and experience. It's a challenge we have to get through, so we might as well use it as a chance to learn.

- Many of the contributors to this post indicated that leading companies are using the current slowdown as a time to invest in employee training - both internally and through encouraging employees to seek outside development. This is an immediate skill building benefit for employees, that can also enable the organization to redeploy or advance employees as opportunities arise.

- Invest in internship programs to build your talent pipeline while providing college students with important resume building opportunities. If the opportunity to learn is good, students will consider unpaid internships.
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