Flexibility helps preserve your pool of talent

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flexibility helps preserve your pool of talent

Management Matters

Cross Posted from Dallas Business Journal – by Alyssa Martin Contributing Writer

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The economic downturn forced many employers to require significant concessions from employees. Now, as the economy improves, businesses can reciprocate.
Building a two-way relationship with current and previous employees helps you preserve your talent pool so your business can function at top capacity through economic ups and downs.
During the down cycle, many businesses faced significant layoffs or salary reductions. Some service businesses even converted full-time employees into contract workers. While layoffs, salary reductions and forced contracting arrangements have altered your talent pool, you can help preserve as many of these employees as possible by mitigating some of the risk they have assumed.
There are legal restrictions regarding maintaining insurance and retirement benefits for workers with less than full-time hours, even if you have a contract arrangement with them, so this is not an option in most cases. However, there are other benefits employers can legally offer. For instance, for contract workers, offering a minimum number of guaranteed hours, offering access to corporate facilities or paying a premium contracting rate because these workers have more company knowledge are all viable options.
Employers can also restore trust and loyalty by creating set intervals for evaluating the opportunity to restore salary levels. Employers can also provide incentives to encourage furloughed or contract workers to maintain their availability until the economic climate changes.
Another way to show appreciation for current workers’ contributions and sacrifices during the down period is to build more flexibility into work schedules. This means focusing on measuring results rather than hours logged at the office. Some companies accomplish this flexibility by allowing more telecommuting, but others offer other arrangements.
Even if circumstances required significant concessions from employees during the past couple of years, providing workers with a sense that your business is looking toward the future and values employee contributions can go a long way toward maintaining your company’s talent pool. And this translates to long-term bottom-line benefits for your business.

MARTIN, a CPA, is the Dallas executive partner of Weaver. Contact her at alyssa.martin@weaverllp.com.

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