I always loved listening to Johnny Paycheck sing Take This Job and Shove It. Now some workers are actually saying that. Here's the number of quits in the entire economy:
Quits are still well down from the boom days, but the latest news suggests that there will be more to come. In the recession, managers can get sloppy without losing workers. It's not that the managers are inherently bad (most of them, anyway), but that they became preoccupied with cash flow and business survival. The often did not recognize that their staff were stressed out, worried, and maybe angry and resentful.
As the economy improves, business leaders need to make employee relations a higher priority. Employees will have more choices, and more of them will quit. Most quits are not about pay and benefits so much as about feeling valued and respected. So here's the agenda for managers and small business owners:
- Thank employees for their efforts in general
- Recognize specific employee achievements
- Acknowledge that the work environment has been difficult
- Acknowledge that management has been preoccupied with corporate survival
- As business earnings improve, evaluate how to boost compensation. Perhaps reinstating old benefits that were suspended in the recession is not the best strategy; this is a time when old benefits can be replaced with new benefits.