With pay freezes, bonus pools reductions, ongoing redundancies and training plans shelved, it is little wonder that HR see the engagement of staff as their number one priority. But don’t think cutting your workplace mediation service is the right way to save money.
The impact on the economic downturn on employee relations is clear:
- People’s minds are not on their jobs – they are worried about redundancy, pay-cuts or the cost of living, and the impact this will have on their family life
- There is an increasing distrust of the management layer
- There is increasing resentment as people are required to work harder due to non replacement of staff
In the current climate managers can rely on job insecurity and limited external opportunities to ensure employees meet performance needs, but this approach can only stretch so far. If you rely on “continuance commitment” – staff turning up at work because they fear losing their job – you are treading a risky path. What to aim for is “Affective commitment” – commitment that creates a willingness to go the extra mile and an intention to stay. This is what you need from staff if you want competitive advantage.
I think employers, and employees, need more help, not less, when times are tough. A “mediator in time” can save thousands of pounds, and even though it can seem like an optional expense that can be cut, the full cost you pay for not managing conflict early may only surface at an employment tribunal.