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Will your furloughed staff leave you? Not if you use these '5 Ps'


Will your furloughed staff leave you? Not if you use these '5 Ps' 


Some employees are grateful to be furloughed (“at least you haven’t fired me”). Others are hurt and angry (“don’t you need me?”) And all of them will be worried about money. Given how easy it is to look for jobs online, that means you could be losing your furloughed staff to better-paid opportunities right now. If you don’t want that to happen, you need to get proactive and earn their loyalty. 


How can you do that? Follow the ‘5 Ps’.


1. Provide them with opportunities 


Job security and career growth are bigger priorities than ever for today’s workers, especially those at the bottom of the ladder – and no wonder. For millenials, coronavirus is the second record-breaking financial crisis in their lifetimes. They’ve also seen the cost of living rise while wages for entry-level jobs have stayed stagnant. A step up the ladder may be your younger workers’ only route out of their parents’ basement. 


To retain their loyalty, you need to demonstrate that their career growth matters as much to you as it does to them. Start conversations about their current role and find out what they like about it and what areas they’d like to learn about. Show that there’s a clear path to promotion. People who see a future with your company will be more likely to stay with you during difficult times. 


2. Pay them what they’re worth 


Around 1⁄3 of workers who quit their jobs leave because of a better-paid offer elsewhere. With today’s living costs rising faster than wages, most people can’t afford loyalty to a company at the cost of better pay.


While this obviously depends on what the company itself can afford, especially now, you should try to base wages on the cost of living where the majority of your people are located. Check out apps like MIT’s living wage calculator to get an idea. And find something in the kitty to give your MVPs a monthly bonus, even if it’s only £100. 


3. Prioritise their physical and mental health 


It’s common knowledge that having a good employee wellness program can boost job satisfaction at every level of your company and help to guard against burnout. Consider topping up your benefits package with something like gym memberships or optional meditation or exercise classes in the workplace. Help your people build a healthy lifestyle around their job, and they’ll be less tempted to go elsewhere. 


Now more than ever, it’s also vital to make sure every employee has adequate paid sick leave. Show your people you’re committed to their safety by making sick leave risk-free and easily accessible, being flexible about home working even after lockdown, and making sure everyone is fully informed about how to reduce the spread of infection at work. This goes double if you have any chronically ill or disabled workers on your team. Don’t make them fight for the accommodations they need to do their jobs well, but proactively ask what they need and offer it, and you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty. 


4. Put their shoes on and walk a mile 


We all have those employees on our payroll. The ones who have such easy jobs and yet inexplicably can’t do those simple, basic things correctly. Right? 


Wrong. Those jobs may look easy from the outside, but chances are they’re not easy at all. Worse still, some of your people may even be convinced that your job is easy. We’re all guilty of judging others before we’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Luckily, there’s a way for everyone at your company to do just that. 


Once a year, flip your company hierarchy upside down and have the managers and their employees swap roles. As well as generating some amusement, this will give everyone a new sense of empathy for each other. Those at the top of the ladder will gain insight into the struggles their workers face, and those at the bottom will learn how challenging it is to lead a team. 


5. Praise them for good work 


Everyone needs to know that what they do for eight hours a day matters. If you’re not making it clear to them how their work makes a difference to the company, they’ll find a new boss who does. Make a conscious effort to thank people for their efforts and point out what they’re doing right as well as what they’re doing wrong. Don’t just tell them they’re important members of your team, but actually explain why. 


Employee retention isn’t likely to get easier once COVID-19 has blown over. Quite the opposite – other companies are going to be scrambling to steal your best talent. So, practise the 5 Ps and provide your people with plenty of persuasive reasons to stay put.