Maintaining Productivity and Morale during a Hiring Freeze

While the economy has been steadily exhibiting signs of recovery over the past couple of years, hiring has yet to fully rebound. Some employers remain gun shy, hit hard by the recession and hesitant to open the recruiting floodgates just yet. Others may have grown accustomed to doing more with less and are tempted to try to carry on with fewer employees, even in the face of increased sales.

Whatever the case at your company, if you have not yet returned to full-on hire mode, chances are you are having a hard time keeping your workforce motivated and productive.  Existing employees may have willingly pitched in a little extra effort when profits were down. Taking on extra duties may have been the only way they could hang onto their jobs, after all. But now that corporate profits are climbing, they are watching and waiting for new hands on deck to take some of that extra burden off their shoulders. If you opt not to bring new people onboard, these overburdened employees are likely to feel demoralized.

Here are a few tips for keeping your workforce engaged and productive during a hiring freeze:

1) Keep Them Informed: There’s nothing worse than a pack of nervous employees left in the dark. The rumor mill is apt to start churning, and those employees who would have never considered leaving might start brushing up their resumes with an eye toward the door. Or they may just stay put, but stop “giving their all” to the job, which is even worse. You can avoid such a situation by holding frequent meetings. Let employees in on the plan, especially if you have a specific goal that must be reached before hiring will begin again. An informed workforce will be motivated to help you achieve that goal.

2) Remain Calm: It’s often been said that dogs and cats can pick up on the emotions of the people around them. If you are nervous or scared, they will be too. The same can be said of employees. If managers put off a feeling of anxiousness, employees are apt to think the company is headed for the edge of the cliff. Couple that with an unreasonably heavy workload and no sign that anyone new is coming onboard to help lighten the load, and you will have a workforce that spends far too much time worrying and gossiping and too little time helping the company rack up more sales.

3) Communicate Goals: Left adrift with little direction, employees will not be motivated. In fact, it could be said that it’s impossible to motivate those who have not been told what they are supposed to be doing. When a company is doing more with less, job descriptions are bound to change – at least temporarily. It is your job to make sure each and every employee knows what is expected of them. If you have fostered a culture of open dialogue, they just may ask how much longer they are going to have to be doing double-duty (or one-and-a-half duty, as the case may be). The temptation may be to mislead them, by giving them the impression it “won’t be much longer.” But telling someone their load will lighten in January, only to have them still feeling weighted down in May, will only demoralize them further and decrease their chances of staying productive. So be honest, even if the answer is not the one they want to hear.

For assistance with all your staffing needs, contact High Profile Staffing today.

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