1) Be clear what you stand for
A mismatch of values between the organisation and the workforce will cause stress and a sense of dissatisfaction within individuals. How well do your staff understand the values of the Company? I don’t just mean the values shown on the Company website, what are the actual values that you and your employees live by? How are these communicated and are you living them every day?
When Companies are focused on financial business planning, the niceties tend to be put on the back burner and are easily forgotten. In tougher times, keeping the team engaged is essential, they need to feel secure and valued to stay loyal. Ask yourself, “How can we engage the team in developing and embedding your values throughout the company or department?”
2) Walk the talk
Trust must be earned and it is vital that there is trust between leader and those who are led. When this is in place, the team can face the most challenging circumstances together. Without it, the future is bleak. Once trust has been destroyed it is almost impossible to reinstate it.
Make sure you walk the talk. If you are reducing spend and asking your team to make financial savings where they can, then flying first or business class or arriving to work daily in your convertible BMW is not showing your team that you are willing to make sacrifices. Be the first to make changes. There is no need to broadcast your “sacrifice” of additional leg room when traveling or comfort on your drive into the office, let the Company communication engine take over, it’s a lot quicker I can assure you.
3) Keep the main thing the main thing
Dealing with an inconsistent set of expectations or messages or people who constantly change their mind creates a sense of uncertainty within a Company which is damaging. There should be a consistent approach to decision making that your entire Management team stick to that keeps the Company focused and consistent with the business plan.
Team members should be confident that decisions are being made for the right reasons and that decisions will be changed only when there is a valid reason.
4) Keep talking
During tough financial times, the easiest option for the senior team is to keep quiet, to not share the Company figures and hope that the Company Employees assume all is OK unless told otherwise. I can tell you from experience that this approach does not work, the rumour mill will take over and create a much gloomier picture than the reality, causing concern and anxiety which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as everyone is so busy gossiping no one is doing any work!
Perhaps the most important part of a good manager’s job is communicating effectively. Creating a culture of communication in which managers and Employees share common goals and working together to meet them can boost a company up and even save it from closure.
Companies should share top line details of their business plan and its progress on a regular basis. They should also create an opportunity for their team members to have their say and be listened to. Having a real opportunity to influence what is to happen can significantly reduce stress and dissatisfaction of the team and allow them to all get behind the work that needs to be done to achieve the business plan.
5) Be present.
Have an open door policy, walk around the office and talk to people. Acknowledge their concerns, answer questions and have positive conversations. Show that you want to invest time in them, not just take their input. Explain that all businesses go through cycles and be optimistic that despite the challenges, with everyone's support there's no reason why the company will not return to success.
6) Don’t ignore your A Players
Give special attention to high-potential employees. Even in a tough economy, high-potential Employees have other opportunities! During an economic crisis, Employees who are anxious about their future can negatively affect a company. The reason is simple and obvious: they are less engaged in their jobs, and they may be making plans to leave.
To keep them engaged, consider putting more resources into career development and training. Or perhaps you can give them new projects that will help the company adapt to the changing market, grow, and develop.
A thank you which recognises the efforts people have made makes a huge difference to the way they feel. A short email saying thanks for a job well done takes on a big significance to the person receiving it when they know is really meant.
A bunch of flowers or a small gift in recognition of someone going the extra mile makes us feel good in our personal lives and the principle is no different professionally. Taking the time and trouble to notice someone's effort is what makes the difference. Take the time to notice who is working hard, who helps others and who contributes the energies to creating success. You can't put a price on the value of thank you.