10 Steps to Help Employees Reconnect with the Business

Sept. 23, 2009
Watson Wyatt offers practical tips to re-establish organizational structure as business climate improves.

Economic upheaval leaves a wealth of victims in its wake. For employees on the receiving end of layoff notices or frozen pay, the damage is clearly evident. For employees left employed but still under threat from these or similar business decisions, the damage is a little less clear, but it hurts both the worker and the business. That's because the threat of layoffs in many cases leaves workers focused more on their own short-term futures and less on their workplaces' long-term future, explains consulting firm Watson Wyatt. That disconnect between employees and their businesses is bad news for companies as the economic climate begins to moderate.

Watson Wyatt offers the following 10 steps to help employees reconnect with business:

  1. Create an organizational structure and job architecture that is clear and efficient so that all employees understand both their roles and how they contribute to the organization's success.
  2. Be honest about the employment situation.
  3. Review executive compensation to achieve the optimum balance on alignment with shareholders and driving value in the business.
  4. Regularly review sales compensation. Make sure plans are aligned with new business priorities and drive optimum performance at optimum cost.
  5. Review how your company manages performance. Be sure it reflects corporate reality and motivates key talent.
  6. Make sure you have identified key talent.
  7. Reward exceptional performance, not the norm. Watson Wyatt says this will ensure that a company is able to manage in any economic situation.
  8. Be sure you have excellent management information. Base decisions on facts and analysis rather than emotion and rhetoric.
  9. Make sure you understand where critical roles and skills reside.
  10. Keep leadership visible and open. Let employees know where the business is heading, what they need to do to contribute, and how they will be rewarded.
Many organizations and their reward structures have been knocked out of shape by the business imperative to make significant changes quickly, according to Watson Wyatt. "Those companies able to reconnect their employees and move their organizational structures and processes back on track will be the ones best positioned to take advantage as and when the business climate improves," says Chantal Free, UK head of the consulting firm's Human Capital Group.

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