Through thick and thin, it's the people who matter most

We talk a lot about employee morale on this blog. We stand behind the notion that happy, engaged employees are more positive, more productive and your most important resource. So when Robert Half Management Resources posed the question, “Which one of the following is the greatest lesson you have learned from the recession?”, we were pleased that the #1 response was, “Place greater focus on maintaining employee morale.” Ding, ding, ding – employee morale gets top billing!

Participating in the survey were 1,400 chief financial officers from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. The other top responses from the CFOs:

• Take decisive measures more quickly to avoid multiple rounds of cost-cutting — 22%
• Make sure we have enough staff to maintain productivity — 22%
• Implement more detailed succession plans — 15%

But back to employee morale. How encouraging that people in high places recognize the importance of employee morale – no matter how rough the waters. And let’s hope they’re not "all talk and no action" when it comes to this belief. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Once the recession lifts, employees will remember how they were treated. Will your best employees stick around as the economy improves, or will they dust off their resumes and hit the job boards?

Happy employees are good business. “Without a motivated workforce and adequate staffing levels, companies can be ill-equipped to take advantage of improving market trends,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “They may also risk losing top employees as the job market strengthens.”

What about your business? Did you make employee morale a priority during the tough times of the recent recession? Are you confident that you treated your employees right … and will be rewarded with their continued loyalty?

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