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LESSONS LEARNED

An employee-engagement approach can help companies to deal with the challenges not only of a business that is running in a regular global environment, but also during a crisis, such as the recent recession, because by establishing trust, the management can unlock more of the knowledge and commitment of individual employees. As Paul Drechsler, CEO of Wates Group, said, "a leader's focus on engagement is even more important during difficult times to motivate, engage and ultimately retain your people." Engagement can enable organizations to retain their employees' support while taking and implementing difficult decisions. Indeed, unlike the experience in previous recessions, many companies have in the past year worked closely and collaboratively with staff to mitigate the effects of scarce credit and collapsing markets on the workforce.

Moreover, despite the effects of the current economic climate, there is an increasing number of young graduates and who have grown up experiencing only good economic conditions. Despite the present recessionary conditions, these young graduates will not be likely to put up with working lives where they are expected to hang their brains and individuality at the door, or buckle down under a command-and-control management style. A less-deferential population is less and less willing to subsume their individuality in any area of their lives. Life is no longer about orders and top-down decisions for the generations that grew up in a world of globalization, openness, creativity, and individual appreciation and spirituality. Therefore, expectations need to be met by the new graduates, who are fresh, enthusiastic, optimistic, and looking forward to work and personal development. In order to get the best out of these graduates, managers need to understand the needs of the new workforce, and to provide them with at least some of those needs in order to absorb more of the talents that can help make the market grow and the economy boom again. As the saying goes, "People join organizations but they leave because of managers."

NOTES

1. John Michael Farrell and Angela Hoon, "What's Your Company's Risk Culture," Business Week, May 12, 2009, p. 27.

2 . The Gallup Organization introduced the notion of employee engagement in two bestselling books: First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Follow This Path: How the World's Greatest Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential (Warner Books, 2002).

3. Ibid.

4. Interview with authors, July 13, 2011.

5. Marin Institute Website, marininstitute.org.

6. Hassouneh, Muhammad and Abu Libdeh, Hasan. "Palestine Investment Conference." Retrieved March 26, 2010, from Presentation Notes Online Website, scribd.com/doc/25577574/Palestine-Investment-Conference-Bethlehem-28.

7. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics: "The Performance of the Palestinian Economy during the year 2010." Retrieved January 22, 2010, from pcbs.gov.ps/portals/_pcbs/PressRelease/PalEconomic_2010_E.pdf.

8 . Ibid.

9 . Ibid.

10 . Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Hassouneh, Muhammad and Abu Libdeh, Hasan. "Palestine Investment Conference." Retrieved March 26, 2010, from Presentation Notes Online Website, scribd.com/doc/25577574/Palestine-Investment-Conference- Bethlehem-28.

13 . Shehadeh, Loay. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic: Fertility Is Declining While Unemployment Is on the Rise. 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from htttp://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6102.

14 . Karama. Palestinian Minister of Economy: "Karama" Website Kick Off to Support Palestinian Products. 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from aknews.com/en/aknews/2/119982/.

 
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