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8 Mar 2023

How To Maintain Employee Morale During A Hiring Freeze

Managing cash flow is crucial for any business, and payroll is often one of the most significant expenses for a company. When a company is…

Managing cash flow is crucial for any business, and payroll is often one of the most significant expenses for a company. When a company is struggling with cash flow, it may be forced to make difficult decisions, such as implementing a hiring freeze to reduce costs.

However, it’s important to remember that employees are the backbone of any business, and cutting back on hiring should be a last resort.

Even if a hiring freeze is considered necessary, it can present challenges for businesses looking to grow and improve, but there are still steps you can take to make progress. This article will delve into some best practises for maintaining employee engagement and reducing attrition during a hiring freeze.

What effect does a hiring freeze have on employee morale?

The economy’s volatility over the past two years has been difficult for both HR departments and employees. There is a feeling of instability, and this has caused fear and uncertainty at work.

Hiring freezes heighten those emotions by raising concerns about the future of the organisation. Also, they add to employees’ workloads and may imply that layoffs are imminent.

Disengagement can pollute the workplace amid a hiring freeze if people leaders do nothing to stop its impacts. In fact, engagement has been trending downward since late 2021 across all types of workers, hybrid, at-home, and in-person.

Some signs of low employee morale include:

  • Poor engagement and decreased productivity
  • Confusion and concern about the future
  • A sense that working hard is futile given the possibility of layoffs
  • Greater turnover as staff fear layoffs and opt to leave for a more stable environment

How to boost employee morale and effectively reduce stagnation

Focus on internal training and development

During a hiring freeze, it is important to focus on retaining existing employees by increasing engagement and job satisfaction. You can help your existing employees grow professionally and take on new responsibilities within the company by investing time and resources in them through training and development opportunities. This can include offering training programs, cross-functional projects, or mentorship opportunities.

Another approach to development is to foster an environment of creativity and innovation. Encourage employees to share their ideas and think of new ways to improve the company.  This can help employees develop a sense of ownership and commitment.

Streamline processes and workflows

Examine your business processes closely and identify areas that can be streamlined or automated. This can help to increase productivity while decreasing costs.

Consider investing in technology solutions that will help your business run more efficiently, allowing your employees to accomplish more with less effort.

Improve communication

All successful relationships, both at work and in the wider world, are built on effective communication.

Employees will be able to have a timeline for plans thanks to open communication that explains your decision-making process when declaring a hiring freeze. This will make them feel less anxious in the future and will also help them understand the business’s needs. The company needs to clearly define its future vision so that all of its employees can agree on its long-term objectives and have a shared understanding of future goals.

Under a hiring freeze, regular updates and feedback are also essential. If employees don’t receive regular status updates, the hiring freeze may appear to last indefinitely, and rumours of layoffs may start to spread. In doing so, you can avoid misunderstandings and guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

Recognize and reward employees

It is crucial to acknowledge and reward employees for their efforts, especially during difficult times. This can be as simple as expressing gratitude verbally or by providing incentives such as bonuses or additional time off.

In essence, this will result in a positive company culture that will keep workers motivated and engaged.  You can use team-building exercises, social events, or the company’s mission and values to instil a feeling of purpose to further encourage this behaviour.

A renewed emphasis on employee satisfaction and workplace well-being

Following a year of rapid expansion, many businesses are reducing hiring as a result of a looming recession.

If ignored, this can lead to disengagement, but it can also present an opportunity to reshape workplace culture by fostering open communication, supporting innovation, encouraging internal growth, and placing a priority on mental health.

By implementing these best practices, businesses can maintain employee engagement and reduce attrition during a hiring freeze, ensuring that they are well-positioned to resume growth and hiring when the financial situation improves.

How Storm5 Can Help You

As global leaders in Retail Technology and E-commerce recruitment, we are on a mission to help businesses at the cutting edge of RetailTech in building outstanding customer experiences. Working alongside RetailTechs in E-commerce, MarTech, AdTech, Supply Chain & Logistics, and Instore Technology, among others, we have played a critical role in developing key senior hires in these companies, allowing them to supercharge their operations and transform the retail world as we know it.

If you are looking for a recruitment partner in North America, Europe or APAC, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are always on the lookout to support more RetailTech’s with the very best talent on the market.

We’ve helped some of the most successful RetailTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.