Time to Tighten Up On Employee Retention

February 12, 2010

By: Gregory P. Smith

I am always amazed by the shortsightedness many businesses display during economic downturns. I have lived through many downturns and the result is pretty much the same. The media sensationalizes the news, always giving the false impression of doom and gloom. 

Decision makers think, “If the economy is tough, people will be afraid to look for another job.”  Then some start downsizing, cutting back on the usual things such as training, travel, and the fun stuff that keeps people motivated and engaged in their jobs. As a result, this sometimes forces people to look for other jobs that much sooner – so much for loyalty.  Talented people always have two choices—to stay with you, or go somewhere else. It doesn’t take that much to push them to the other side.

It was during the recession in the 1980’s that a man named Horst Schulze stepped to the forefront. Horst was the founder and the first CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain.  The recession was playing havoc on the hotel industry. No one was traveling; businesses quit having meetings, so in typical fashion all the hotel chains started downsizing their employees.  Horst saw this as a great opportunity to strengthen his brand. 

He decided to transform the Ritz-Carlton hotels from an “average” hotel chain into a “great” hotel chain.  He sent the word out to all of his hotels and said, “The only people you will not cut are the training people and the quality people.” 

It was at this point the transformation process began. The rest is history.  The Ritz-Carlton Hotels have been voted one of the best chains the world over.  They are also the only organization in history to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award twice.

Horst Schulze was a REAL leader.  Instead of turning tail and running, he saw the opportunity. What is your plan to retain your people?

If you want to implement an innovative way to cut costs, I suggest you learn more about idea campaigns.

Greg Smith helps create high performance organizations that attract, keep, and motivate their workforce. As President of Chart Your Course International he has designed and implemented professional development programs for hundreds of organizations globally. As a business growth consultant, he has helped business owners reduce turnover, increase sales, deliver better customer service, and reach long-term prosperity. Greg is published in hundreds of trade publications. He is also the author of Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High Retention, the New Leader, and several other books. For more information, visit http://www.chartcourse.com or call (800) 821-2487 or (770) 860-9464.

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