Everyone I know who has a ‘real job’ these days seems to be in a tremendous pressure-cooker environment. It’s easy and understandable for over-stretched leaders who may be facing burn out themselves to just let things keep going as-is for as long as possible. Yes, the staff may be stressed but they really should be grateful to have a job in this economy. The temptation to not communicate – or not communicate meaningfully – is great. Just hope the status quo can sustain you through this week, this quarter, we’ll deal with the people problems later. Most predictions are for the U.S. economy to turn up noticeably by mid-2010. Feels like a long way off, right? Not really. Astute business leaders are already preparing for the next phase. But so are unhappy employees who are just waiting for that upturn to bail out for greener pastures. I have read many articles quoting statistics that 60%+ of American workers intend to jump employment ships as soon as they have the opportunity. I recently read a shocking stat that as many as 20% of employees might actually take a harmful action of some sort against their employer! What happens when your key workers walk, or bad attitudes seep out to customer interactions, or productivity just creeps along? Status quo now will NOT improve these conditions. Today more than ever, open communication, team bonding, and a demonstration of mutual respect and understanding can go a long way in getting everyone through the down turn and keeping them engaged for the long term.