With recent research showing that over 30% of employees are planning to leave their current job when the recession ends and the job market recovers, all small business owners must ensure that they keep their most important staff motivated and content.

With the survey by recruitment firm Robert Half also revealing that 39% of staff have only stayed in their current job for so long to ensure security during hard times it would appear small business owners can't afford to wait to implement employee schemes.

"Whilst the recession has seen the job market slow down significantly, our research shows many are looking to move jobs once the economy picks up," said Phil Sheridan, Managing Director of Robert Half UK.

"Employers need to ensure that they are doing all they can to keep staff morale high so that they do not lose their best people as soon as they see positive signs that the recession has ended."

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have put together some top tips on keeping a happy and productive workforce:
Now is the time to explore any opportunities to gain funding for developing the skills of employees

Increase your profile
While for many firms the recession has led to recruitment freezes or reductions, it doesn't mean you should stop building your employer brand and reputation. Several organisations are actively spending time increasing their profiles as preferred employers and are strengthening their relationships with local talent so that they are in a stronger position to acquire difficult to find talent when the upturn comes.

Improve talent schemes
For those organisations that have had to postpone or scale back talent management initiatives, the current period represents a perfect opportunity to review and develop the effectiveness of their current talent management schemes.

Plan for the future
It is also important to prepare for an upturn, particularly if you have found it difficult to find skills and experience in the past. Current employees are more likely to want to stay with your firm if they see that plans are being made to make the most of the economic upturn.

Skills development
Now is the time to explore any opportunities to gain funding for developing the skills of employees. Look to maximise the use that your company gets out of grants, for instance by increasing the focus on apprenticeships and accessing apprenticeship-specific funding.

Think creatively
On the whole, recruitment freezes or reductions are encouraging line managers to be less risk averse in their promotion decisions. Line managers currently have to think much more creatively and carefully before they go to the external marketplace. This helps organisations fully utilise the skills of their existing workforce and provides existing employees with more opportunities. However, if internal candidates are more likely to be given stretch appointments they must be provided with effective support. Try to also innovate with your talent assessment and development processes.