Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fortune Cookie Philosophy: 5 Ways to Engage & Retain Through a Down Economy

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday – Some days it seems as if we have been struggling in an uncertain economy forever. And yet, we all remember the rich returns of just a few short years ago. What this tells us is that everything changes – what goes up will go down, and what is down will go up. Once you embrace the reality of change, every day is one day closer to a better tomorrow. Stop worrying about what might happen tomorrow, and start gathering the tools you will need to succeed tomorrow. Identify those employees with high performance potential, and start training them now to take on roles of more responsibility when the economy turns around.

Adjust finances, make budgets, to improve your standing – You say you can’t afford to train in a down economy? If you don’t, your high-potential employees may not be around to train when business improves. If people aren’t growing they are stagnating, and high-potential employees will seek more fertile ground to plant their roots. Take a look at your finances. Odds are, with a little creativity, you can find room in your budget for training and development. It doesn’t have to be training in the old costly model – big groups, catered lunches and paid speakers. Get creative. Use your technology. There are a lot of training programs that can be quite effectively delivered through less expensive media, such as webinars and teleseminars.

Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot – You can wish and hope and pray, but you cannot keep the down economy away. What you can do, however, is use this time to train and develop your workforce. Empower your employees for the future. Train them. Engage them. You will find yourself ready to leap into the economic upswing with a skilled, performance-driven, customer-focused workforce – trained and ready to take your organization to the forefront of the new economy.

He who climbs a ladder must begin at the first step – If you listen to the economic forecasters, you might wonder if the economy is on it’s way back up, or, if it still has a way to go before it hits bottom. So, what are you going to do? Do you wait to make sure the economy is rebounding, or, do you take a leap of faith and act as if it is? Regardless of whether we are in recovery now, or it is coming soon, every organization will have to reclaim some part of their market that was lost during the downturn. Start now. Be prepared. Look internally to your employees and recommit to them. Those who carried your organization through the downturn are looking for strong leadership to guide them forward and show them how to thrive in the new economy.

Be patient: in time, even an egg will walk – Start now. Identify your high potential performers. Find room in your budget to get them the training and development they need. Show them the future. Engage them. Ask them for their ideas to improve performance. When all around you are still trying to rebound into recovery, your organization will be leaping forward, trained and ready.

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