Loyal employees who struggle to keep up.

Dear SJ,

I have a big question of conscience. My business growth is being blocked by some of my employees. They were my first recruitments and always behaved involved and loyal. But lately it seems like they can no longer keep up. I experience specific behaviors such as saying yes and doing nothing, complaining that in the past everything was better and that we have become an impersonal 'factory', apologizing for lack of computer and language skills, ... so many frustrations that make me think of dismissal. But my conscience tells me that I cannot do that after years of loyalty.

How do I fix this?

A company owner doubting between loyalty and competences.

Dear business owner doubting between loyalty and competencies.

Congratulations on your growth strategy! You have chosen a way forward, but perhaps your HR-policy has not evolved? It‘s not too late!. Provided you achieve the 4 assignments listed below, you will be rid of your doubt within a few weeks!

First assignment: do a RDL exercise. Please write down for yourself, but don't share it yet.

R: what behavior are you satisfied with and you wish your employees retain,

D: what they could do better and should therefore develop further, and

L: What causes such a disadvantage and therefore you think they should let go?

Second assignment: start a dialogue!

What is going on with your older employees? Is there a motivation problem because they expected to retire but the retirement age has been postponed? Do they fear they will no longer be able to learn certain knowledge and skills? Are there physical limitations that make them unable to cope with the heavy work or shifts? Or have your expectations increased? It's time you start a dialogue, so you know what measures to take. With the right guidance you can pull this "straight". Also know that there are numerous subsidy options for training.

Third assignment: reflection!

What is the effect of outflow and outplacement on your organization? Impressive! A lot of experience ebbs away, the atmosphere is negative, you can hardly find young workers on the labor market. Focus on sustainable employability and appreciation of everyone's contribution across the entire organization. Guarantee continuity.

Do you need a mentor to guide new employees? There is great value in setting up an "academy" or training center. Perhaps you can create or revive a quality system? All ideas that increase the image of your company as a supplier and as an employer.

Fourth assignment: get your employees thinking!

Make sure your employees are aware of the strategy and the path forward.

Encourage them to think about the steps they can take to ensure that they remain employable, i.e. through lifelong learning. Lifelong learning has nothing but advantages: it gives energy, makes people self-confident because they can enforce opportunities. Increased employability is valuable in a rapidly changing society.

The ultimate goal is to focus more on a solid inflow and retention policy so your outflow policy becomes less important.

Good luck!


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