These days with the economy still fragile many HR Managers may be thinking that they have a lock on retaining their top talent because they may be too nervous to even think about looking for a new position. Think again. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, in February 2010, “the number of employees voluntarily quitting surpassed the number being fired or discharged for the first time since October 2008.”

The reasons come down to the perception that the economy is in fact getting better (and for those who held tight during the worst of the recession they’re now ready to bolt), and, according to the WSJ article, is “the effect of the heavy cost-cutting and downsizing during the downturn on workers’ morale.” Executive recruiter, Brett Good, said “employees feel disengaged with their jobs, which is going to lead to a lot of churn as we come out of the recession… they feel like ‘a bird in the hand’ isn’t good enough anymore.”

This just proves that internal branding and communications with employees even during down times still needs to be in effect. When I was working with O2 ideas we developed an employee program for our home building client, Taylor Morrison, that both solicited their input and rewarded them with a vacation. The program (called The Big Idea created by Ian David and Joey Graddy) included a cool downloadable PDF guide and stylish T-shirts that everyone wanted. It was a huge success and helped make the employees feel as though they were part of a company that cared, was fun and where they wanted to be. The program represented an ongoing commitment by Taylor Morrison to engage their employees. It may not have prevented  some employees from eventually leaving but it did a great job of promoting the company as being a fun and rewarding place to work.

So, it’s important for HR Managers to keep in touch with their employees and to continually develop internal communications programs that will engage employees and help keep the pride they have for their employer as well as for their positions.