Labor Day was ushered in this year with some of the glummest news. On Friday, the government said unemployment rose to 9.7 percent and nearly six million jobs have been lost in the past year. Many experts are predicting this will be a “jobless recovery.”
So what does this mean for companies and their employee communications? On the surface, it seems like not much. Plenty of fish in the sea, if you want to replace someone. But I have a different point of view – I think the unemployment ranks could be worse news for employers than their employees.
Why? Because the pool of trained and experienced workers whose skills begin to atrophy during unemployment spells bad news for employers. By keeping tight control over hiring, the pool of skilled workers at every level – from the shop floor to the executive suite will diminish as employees fall behind technically or leave their fields.
Companies will actually be competing for skilled employees and begin to poach their competitors even while the number of people seeking jobs grows larger. Smart companies will understand how important internal communications is. Instead of cutting training to rein in expenses, companies need to be investing in their employees to keep them sharp and motivated. Instead of cutting back on the “below-the-line” professionals in the Communications Department, companies should be ratcheting up their efforts in communicating with employees – through intranets, newsletters, webinars and personal get-togethers.
So the next time a competitor goes after one of your top producers, don’t give him a reason to leave. Keep up the communication, keep up the skills training, and keep up the caring.