This Forbes article has a few important insights for retaining employees. The current job market makes retention even more difficult, but the author identifies a nine-month window before an employee leaves. In that nine-month time period, it may seem like the best way to ensure an employee becomes or remains engaged in their work would be to reduce stress and increase pay, but it isn't that simple.
The key, as the author points out, is making sure your employees are the right kind of busy. This means days filled with meaningful work -- not too much work and not busywork. Most of us have probably experienced this. We start working on a project that we really care about, and yes, there is a lot of work to be done, but it feels good to do it. We're busy. We're not left with time for our minds to wander to greener pastures, but we're not so overwhelmed that we want to escape. We are fully engaged in our work. Our productivity is up.
So, as you think about retaining employees in this current economic climate, evaluate what kind of busy they are. Are they in that sweet spot? What can you do to get them there?
When people work on meaningful and challenging projects, regardless of the amount of work or stress, they become more engaged. Productivity increases as well when there is a sense of accomplishment and opportunity for employees.