I am becoming increasingly concerned for my top corporate clients. As we rumble past the bottom of the business cycle and begin the long upwards climb towards recovery, many companies are starting to congratulate themselves. “Well done, we survived a Great Recession”. But I fear their celebrations may be premature.

Of course, the recovery will be slow, and that’s a factor to be considered when doing projections and budgets for the year ahead. But my fear is about their people. Readers of this blog will probably be in agreement with one of our key beliefs at TomorrowToday: people are central to both the long-term success of an organisation as well as its competitive advantage.

If that is true, then companies will be in significant trouble if they lose (or get rid of) their people. And that’s the problem I see brewing. Companies have had some tough years recently, and have asked a lot of their people. And, in return, they haven’t really been treating them well. Some leaders have even said this out loud: it’s great that the job market has turned in the employer’s favour again, and our people have nowhere to go… we can treat them how we like now. OK, maybe that’s a touch overstated, but I know of many companies where that sentiment is true.

And it isn’t going to last. Sometime soon the head hunters are going to start up again, and the phones are going to start ringing. And when they do, I fear that many corporates are going to see a talent exodus. They haven’t done anything these past few years to show loyalty, or go “above and beyond” for their staff, so now they’ll reap the whirlwind.

If you’re a company that has done some good things for your staff, now would be a good time to remind them of that fact! And start your “employee engagement and retention” programmes in earnest!

It’s gratifying that I was recently sent some really good research from Deloitte that takes my gut feel fear and puts some solid research behind it. You might enjoy (or be scared by) reading these reports:

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