There is a sore that is beginning to fester in many businesses right now and most managers are oblivious to it.  It is not causing much pain, yet, and may even be disguised as something else entirely.  At the worst, it is producing a low grade fever but, make no mistake, it is getting ready to raise its ugly head and wreak havoc on the business.

What I am talking about is management complacency towards staff motivation and retention.  As money got tight, several years ago, employees were asked to do more with less.  Additionally, they are often not given the support they needed to be successful.  One company I know of cancelled all training and education expenditures to save money and it started to show a year later.

I had a conversation during that period with a man who attended one of my workshops and paid for it himself.  During a break he informed me that his boss had cut out all training dollars from the budget and he was concerned that the “fast track” to management he had been on might be slowing to a crawl.  We talked for about 5 minutes and his final comment really caused me to stop and think.  He said that while he might be stuck where he is right now, as soon as the economy begins to turn he will be finding a new job.  While I don’t have any idea what his job performance has been, I would guess that anyone willing to pay for his own training is probably a top performer.

Now that things have turned and the economy is beginning to prosper, some companies have decided that there is an opportunity to make up for lost time (in dollars) by continuing to save money on training and development while revenues grow.  Bad mistake.

Training and development is an investment, not an expense.  One organization I have talked with has a revolving door that is moving so fast it creates a wind. They offer no training and support.  They also manage with an iron fist.  Now that the economy is strong and unemployment is dropping, retaining quality staff with good customer service skills is the challenge du jour.  

Don’t forget that your people are your greatest asset and the survival of your business relies heavily on your ability to keep them motivated and engaged.   Now is not the time to cut them short on support.

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