OPINION: How to retain and motivate employees even during a recession

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By Arnold Akampulira

Talent retention can be a daunting task especially in the relatively competitive market of hard-to-find talent.

Fortunately, Uganda’s labor market is recovering steadily from the depths of the slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as highlighted in the latest PMI report by Stanbic Bank which shows that firms increased their staffing levels for the fourth straight month in January 2023 especially in the agriculture, construction and  service sectors.

The global economy is expected to register weak growth this year while inflation remains a key concern for policymakers and central banks around the world continue to raise interest rates to curb further price increases; however, we have already witnessed significant movements in the job market especially in the software & technology sectors around the world.

As the global economy continues to remain unstable therefore, both employers and  employees are facing considerable pressure to do things differently from a productivity perspective as well as retaining and motivating the best talent.

The key element that will enable both employers and employees to manage is open communication because, in order to align the business goals with the strategy, there needs to be proper communication.

The employer needs to be open with the employees because in most cases, they have a better sense of what and where the business is heading.

The level of communication can either instill the employees with confidence or make them  feel part of the decision or diminish their levels of motivation.

Flexibility is another tool employers can utilize to retain and motivate their employees even during a slowdown or recession.

This worked effectively during the pandemic but requires mutual understanding from both parties, that is; the employers and employees.

For example, during the pandemic, flexibility ushered in the work from home policies and some incidences, even salary adjustments and cuts to enable the business survive a downturn.

This shows that both employers and employees are willing to compromise and make the necessary decisions that benefit both parties and this is usually facilitated by proper communication and  understanding.

Lastly, empower your employees by involving them in the decision making process especially if it affects their careers. This reduces the uncertainty and stress that comes with not having any input in matters that affect them which also impacts productivity in the long term.

It also demonstrates that you respect and value your employees which in the end is the most significant factor when it comes to retention and motivation.

Arnold Akampulira is the Marketing Analyst at BrighterMonday Uganda.

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