Labeling the current political and business climate as shaky would be an understatement. Nevertheless, your business must continue, and you are expected to navigate your team through this unpredictable time. What are you doing in your organization so the ship stays on course? Let’s look at five internal strategies.
1. This is Your Captain Speaking
Have you ever heard an employee complain about management updating the economic status of the company too much? Communicate as much as possible during times of recession. If the practice is to issue a quarterly newsletter about the State of the Company, consider a monthly communication. The staff wants to be kept in the loop often about the economic state of the business. If there are concerns about the balance sheet, be open about it. Communicate the business outlook, and be positive as much as possible.
2. Downsizing the Ranks
Your business strategy may unfortunately require a reduction in expenses, including staff. Once this difficult decision is made, consider plotting all changes at one time, rather than periodically. This way, it’s one and done. Continuing reductions may distract production and damage morale. Everyone will just keep wondering “have we bottomed out yet?”
Once the changes are made, schedule a meeting and explain why changes were made. One piece of advice, according to Dave Anderson of Seven Ways to Stay Up in Down Times, is to “reassure your people that everyone and everything that remains has been strengthened by these cuts.” Afterward, people can return to their jobs with some focus.
3. Chart Your Course
The direction of the organization needs a map. Instill in your employees what the expectations are and how you will measure progress, so there won’t be any questions later on. In so doing, realize your team members want to know where the organization is going and how that direction affects them personally. A personal example comes to mind when the vice president of a former company called a meeting and informed everyone that an acquisition had just been made, and during the transition, extra hours will be required. Those who were able to work the additional time would be recognized. Recalling that experience, the course was charted, expectations were set, and effects were understood.
4. All Aboard for Positive Encouragement
When your staff completes a project and does something right, delivering thoughtful “nice job” messages should be a repetitive practice. The results can be immeasurable, and it takes very little time. Positive feedback boosts morale and energy, and that’s a good thing when you need your employees to get through the current climate.
5. Customer Service to the Front of the Bow
A crucial element is your customer base, and in times of recession, providing exceptional customer service is foremost. Training employees in customer service procedures should be a top priority. According to Tom DeCottiis, cofounder of CorVirtus, this includes making sure your staff handles complaints positively and proactively because “in difficult times, companies do not get a second chance to make a good impression on their customers.”
These are some strategies to keep in mind as you embark into the next year. After all, we need to keep our heads above water.
Anderson, D. (2003). Seven Ways to Stay Up in Down Times, Website: http://www.achrnews.com
Decotiis, T. (n.d.). How Your Company Can Survive this Recession, Website: http://www.articlesandarticles.net