By Emma Sturgis
The economy goes through hard times all the time; the recession, boom busts, man-made or natural disasters, war, etc. There are so many possibilities, it is almost impossible for someone to be aware of all the potential causes that can cause an economic downturn. If you run a business, you have probably experienced a few speed bumps every now and then and you know what it is like to experience a personal recession. If not, you want to be prepared in case the economy takes a turn for the worst and affects your business. Regardless of the culture of your business, the state of the economy can affect how well your business is generating the revenue necessary for profit or sustainability.
Keeping Your Employees Productive
Even in the event of a downward trend of the economy and its devastating effects on both, small and large businesses, you want to keep your employees productive and proactive. Make sure you’re constantly monitoring performance with employee assessment software to make sure your teams stay at optimal performance. Even if you do not plan on downsizing, a sign that the economy is taking a turn for the worst can leave your employees skeptical about their future in working with your company. Some employees may avoid dealing with you in fear of saying yes or no to a task and fear losing their job. They might believe that they are walking on eggshells in a situation where you would have no qualms about letting someone go just because of the economy. In any case, encourage communication and let them know that they have nothing to fear.
Establishing Employer-Employee Trust
Keeping your employees productive requires a level of trust on both sides. A lot of people are let go and forced into retirement for different kinds of reasons, and employees are aware of this. Employees are generally aware that people find themselves involuntarily out of a job. Many good employees have backup plans, and if you treat them well, with respect, and understanding for their concerns, you won’t find yourself at a loss of a good employee.
Fostering Teamwork and Respect
Just telling your employees what to do is not enough, you need to consistently encourage them and provide counsel and feedback where appropriate. Employees generally go beyond employer’s expectations when they are treated well and with respect. Fostering this in a team environment goes a long way, and you do not want your employees butting heads with one another. If you ever find your team in a state of crisis, you want to mediate immediately to promote compromise, and if the problem persists, you want to schedule a meeting where cross-functional feedback can be facilitated without an aggressive and hostile work environment. Your employees might be unnecessarily in a rat race to keep their job, even if the threat is not real. If it is real, that is even worst.
Introducing and Implementing Change
If you need to make some changes to your business process because of the economy, you want to ensure that you keep your employees in the know. It is important to inform, train, and manage your company in the changes that it makes to ensure that everything retains automation and efficiency. Not all employees are experienced in adapting to the change, and some initiatives fail because the company fail to plan.
Value and Feedback Systems for Improvement
With the elements in the previous sections, your company should do everything it can to foster an environment where the employees will add value to customer relations. This is also where a feedback system is useful. A documented feedback system allows you to make the changes necessary in order to make the necessary changes to value positions such as secretarial work when making appointments or manners when handling phone calls. The success of your company is just as reliant on how the customers feel as its employees and how well your employees and customers are treated will be the foundation of your company culture.
Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and small business. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.