New Year’s resolutions

With a growing number of employees eager to jump ship once the economy improves, now is a good time for employers to make New Year’s resolutions to keep top talent happy.

Employees are your most valuable assets, and the cost of replacing a worker can sometimes exceed the employee’s salary by one-and-a-half times. Therefore, fostering a workplace environment that’s conducive to employee loyalty can only help your business.

A national survey conducted by RoperASW for Randstad North America uncovered the following seven steps that bosses can take to improve employee morale, loyalty and productivity in the coming year.

1. Communicate with workers. The survey found that 83 percent of employees who rank their bosses as excellent communicators say morale is excellent or good where they work.

2. Tell the truth. Instead of wondering if the boss is capable, workers today wonder if the boss is honest. And while 71 percent of supervisors say most people in business are honest, only 53 percent of employees agree with that assessment. Expect employees to ask the tough questions. Be prepared to tell them the truth.

3. Deliver the news clearly and simply. Employees want clear and easy-to-understand information about what’s happening. Clarity is critical. During periods of change, half of employees say things at work seem unorganized. Don’t try to spin bad news into innocuous twaddle.

4. Provide a road map. Give workers an idea of where the company is headed. While 83 percent of employers say they give workers that kind of information, only 68 percent of employees report receiving it.

5. Say something good once in awhile. Sixty-seven percent of employees say management communicates the good news as well as the bad. Workers need to hear the good news from the boss as much as they need to take the bad.

6. Get personal. Whatever the news is that you’re providing, employees want to know what it means to them personally. That means you’ll have to tailor the information in such a way that it is in context to their jobs and roles within the company.

7. Listen. Last but by no means least, take the time to gather input from your people. Employees want to be heard. Sometimes they actually have good ideas. In companies that take action on employee feedback resulting in positive change, 78 percent of employees say morale is excellent or good.

As Randstad North America’s managing director of human resources, Gail Auerbach is responsible for recruitment and retention of the company’s more than 2,000 employees in more than 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Reach her at [email protected]. For more information about Randstad’s Employee Review, visit the company’s Web site at