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Love’em or Lose’em

Our thriving economy has created an impressive number of jobs over the last year and is forecasted to continue to flourish for the next few years. This is very good news for Canadian employers, with the most recent recession not quite faded from memory.

But a growing labour market brings more choices for workers and that may not be such good news for those employers who have simply forgotten to show their employees that they care.

With unemployment low and baby boomers exiting the labour market, the already thin talent pool of “A” players will inevitably shrink.    The competition for these game changers will get fiercer and employers without a plan will struggle despite the economic upturn.

People need to know they are valued.  Your employees need to see it, feel it and believe it.  If you are too busy to show it, or you have convinced yourself you don’t need to….your competition knows exactly what to tell them.  This is especially important now (and it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day) because many employees have been ignored by their employers since the start of the recession. Little attention was paid to whether employees were happy or not.   Employees had few options and so they stayed and employers misunderstood this to mean that they were successfully retaining their staff.  But remember, employees can ‘check out’ long before they exit.

The good news is that it’s not too late to re-engage your “A” players with a little love and attention and it will likely cost you very little.

Start at the top.  Have a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you have been the most engaged owner/CEO.   If not, it’s time to lead and inspire your team.   Get off your chair and get out of your office so you can spend as much time as possible with your team.   They need to see that you are excited and passionate about your business and them.

Unleash HR to become your business partner.  Administration and the Social Committee can wait.   If your HR team is not building processes to improve talent acquisition, retention, engagement, empowerment and risk management, then you may never see another “A” player again.



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Hold your Line Managers accountable for engagement.  You can’t do it alone – hold your managers accountable for engagement.   Consequences drive behaviours.  If you want motivated and engaged employees, consider what the consequences are for Managers who can’t lead and motivate a team.

Re-Recruit your “Rock Stars”.   Find formal and informal ways (new assignments, expanded duties, access to your time, spot rewards) to recognize and reward your game changers.   If you don’t, your competition will.

Don’t accept B minus players or less.    “A” players like to be surrounded by equally talented co-workers.  When you accept substandard performance or employees, your best and brightest will question the organization’s commitment to success.   Without success there will be no opportunities for “A” players.   Make the changes; your stars will appreciate the commitment to talent.

Whatever efforts you make should be authentic and consistent.  Don’t let your organization become the place where people stay just because they don’t care enough to leave or because they have nowhere else to go.  Have the superstars pick you and don’t ever forget that the employees you want, will always have choices.

Make the effort and watch the engagement levels rise.


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