13 October 2010

2011 – An Opportunity to Succeed in the Retrenchment Aftermath

2009 and 2010 were both challenging years for many businesses, but especially for those electing to retrench staff on account of financial difficulties. For these employers, 2011 could be an even tougher year as they struggle with the task of retaining staff and keeping them motivated under an increased workload.  

“I have seen numerous clients struggling with an increase in absenteeism, sick leave, low morale and a decrease in productivity and work quality” says Zelda Pieters, Director of HR Inspiration. “Employees are really feeling the effects of retrenchment and as a result, clients are facing further skills losses as employees elect to find other, less stressful jobs”.

Despite the challenges businesses face right now, it is vital to keep employees motivated and productive in order to help ensure the stability and success of the company.

Recognise the Signs

Zelda recommends that HR and management keep an eye out for signs of burnout within themselves and their employees.

Signs of burnout include:-

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Negative attitude
  • Moodiness
  • Agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Frequent illness
  • Increase in substance abuse
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing, rapid speech)
Open Door Policy

An open door policy will let employees know that they can confide in management if they are experiencing problems. Not all employees will feel comfortable about approaching management directly however, so making a point of personally checking in with staff members regularly, will help you to provide them with the support and recognition they need.

“If employees feel that you are interested in their wellbeing, it boosts their confidence in the company” says Zelda. “Ask the employee how they are coping and let them know that you appreciate the contribution they are making and the stress they are under. This will also provide you with the opportunity to recognise problems and pinpoint interventions that will keep the employee healthy and motivated”.

Ongoing Motivation

Motivational strategies needn’t cost the earth. Consider giving staff some time off to rest and recuperate – this could be a few hours off once a month, or on a Friday afternoon. In-house morale boosting activities can include team sports, games, healthy outdoor activities, weekly motivational meetings or talks, or a ‘bring and braai’. These interventions will inject fun into your employee’s lives and build positive morale. 

Although 2011 will be a challenging year for many companies, the opportunity to build the foundation for stability and success by retaining the skills you have using a supportive and motivational approach will benefit both employer and employee not only in the long term, but in the short term too. 

Companies experiencing the effects of retrenchment and other HR challenges are invited to contact Zelda Pieters, Director and registered Industrial Psychologist of HR Inspiration for further guidance or a one-on-one consultation. Visit our website for our contact information and to view our complete range of services. http://www.hrinspiration.co.za/