Advice for Employers on Labor Day: Keep up the Employee Communications

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.

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  1. I think it is great advice, but I do not think they are listening in the board rooms. They are much too much concerned with bottom line and reporting to stockholders. Isn’t that why so many are getting disenchanted with larger corporations and going out on their own, even if it means sacrificing?

    I think unemployment will reached 10% nationwide before year’s end. There is the additional problem that unless extend, there are awful lot of people who will be running out of unemployment benefits.

    This is a much deeper recession that the early 80’s or 70’s. I read recently in a Chicago Tribune column that 67% “of Illinoisans say they’re either not making ends meet or making just enough to get by.”

    Lumped together, this is scary!

  2. I wish more organizations would pay attention to this message. As talent gets poached, my second – well, actually first – wish is that employers would reach out to the vast pool of talented unemployed individuals over 40. Too often, the wisdom and experience of this group is overlooked as employers scramble for the talented youth in someone else’s yard.