Crises threaten productivity and staffing

Facing a severe crisis for a long period of time will inevitably have a negative impact on a business’s workforce. One common symptom is that employees become increasingly concerned about their own professional future and stop focusing on their work. As a result, productivity decreases – as do feelings of loyalty towards the company. This significantly increases the risk of employees quitting.
Given the shortage of skilled workers, businesses must minimise this risk as much as possible. This can be achieved with an effective employee retention strategy. Employee retention strengthens trust between businesses and employees and promotes a sense of solidarity. These are both crucial to keeping motivation high, especially during critical phases. But, if you ignore the issue of employee retention until a crisis arises, it might be too late. It is important to consistently implement appropriate strategies, even during periods of stability. Then, if existential problems do arise, you can build on these strategies to develop one that fits the current situation.

Employee retention 2024: tips for tough times

You can win appreciation and loyalty from your staff by making the right decisions when times are hard. But what strategies can improve employee retention? Take a look at the following eight tips.

Involve employees in decisions

This is one of the most important aspects of employee retention. Involving valuable employees in the decision-making process makes them feel like an important part of the organization. It can lead to them developing a greater sense of responsibility and becoming more involved in their job.

Communicate praise and appreciation

Employees often work harder than usual during difficult times. Management should make the effort and show appreciation for their staff. Even a short meeting can go a long way. Employees feel more connected to the workplace when they receive fair recognition.

Give rewards

Salary increases can retain valuable employees during a crisis. You can also offer company shares and other perks and rewards instead of money. This elevates the role of employees in the business and boosts their motivation.


During a crisis, businesses experience all kinds of changes in terms of communication and operational work. When management use new technologies or processes during these times, they should offer managers appropriate training and development programmes. They, in turn, pass on their findings to their teams. This increases employee self-confidence and gives a better understanding of tasks and responsibilities in a changing work environment. Employees also feel like the business is investing in them, which increases their loyalty.

Automate unnecessary work

Efficient digitization can reduce a lot of unnecessary tasks, such as tedious paperwork, bookkeeping and manual data management, etc. This frees up employees to concentrate more on challenging tasks, sharpening their focus and improving their self-esteem and sense of purpose. This also stimulates their creativity and sense of innovation.

Offer more responsibility and remote working

Giving staff more autonomy can make good employees even better because they can do their job in the way they see fit. This may include giving them more flexibility to work from home. This shows that the business trusts their work and judgement.

Get feedback

Regular surveys, suggestion boxes, live surveys and other, preferably anonymous, feedback strategies ensure that employees’ voices are heard. Employees can make suggestions and contribute their ideas about processes or working practices without worrying about negative consequences. The business should take all feedback seriously and respond with meaningful action.

Optimize onboarding

Important steps can be taken during the application and recruitment processes and during onboarding to build trust and loyalty among employees at an early stage. It also makes sense to make related processes as effective and straightforward as possible. This includes offering virtual office visits and meetings with the (potential) team, at the applicant’s request, which do not require the applicant to attend in person.

Employee retention: what next?

Businesses must be ready to respond to crises at any time, so it’s important to constantly strengthen employee loyalty and prepare emergency plans for exceptional situations. This not only affects operational processes, but also requires social skills. In addition to training and career opportunities, soft skills and monetary benefits play an increasingly important role.
Businesses must also consider the possibilities of digitization and artificial intelligence, with the aim of further automating (monotonous) processes and creating more scope for employee creativity. New technologies can be useful even prior to recruitment, for example when pre-selecting suitable employees.