<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Keep Good Employees from Leaving During a Relocation

December 17, 2004
Dear Fretful:

Most of us tend to be pretty self-absorbed when it comes to job interests these days, especially when we've been voted off the island (or in this case, had the island pulled out from under us). You are in a daily battle for the hearts and minds of people whose best efforts you really need right now. The only way to win that battle is to do so one person at a time.
Doing that means putting their interests first. Every minute that people spend worrying about where their next job is coming from is a minute that your company's work suffers. Help them, both in their work and personally. Attend to their most important needs before you ask them to be concerned about your company's issues.
This is a perfect application for outplacement services--good ones, not a nominal arrangement that provides a few hours of training, a list of local employers, an office and a phone. If key employees sense that the company is sincerely interested in them, they'll be more inclined to make adjustments.
Make it lucrative for people to stay. Consider retention bonuses and educational grants as added inducements. Give managers the authority to pay special bonuses to individuals or teams that hit certain performance thresholds.
Conduct a final lottery in which employees who have done their jobs faithfully or had perfect attendance have a chance to win a substantial prize. Find a way for people to have some fun regularly. Do a mock funeral for the office/plant. Hold celebrity roasts of key employees. Try to have some organized fun at least weekly.
Finally, bear in mind that how you handle this situation reflects on your personal reputation and your company's goodwill. Each individual involved in this transition can be a testament to how well you handle this difficult situation.
SOURCE: Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette, co-authors,Contented Cows Give Better Milk,, February 3, 2004.
LEARN MORE: How Can I Manage Retention During Downsizing?
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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