It’s said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, but they overlooked one — change. Just as surely as we move from one day to the next, things shift. This is especially true in business, where one morning might bring the announcement of a new competitor or the acquisition of a critical client account and the evening brings the closure of another.
No matter what type of business you’re running, from a non-profit to a major corporation, you are being squeezed when it comes to resources, personnel, and time. You are expected to do more and more with fewer and fewer assets.
In addition to that, the stock market has been swinging wildly in response to the uncertainty brought on by Brexit, COVID-19, and oil price drops, to name a few factors.
What can business owners do to keep their heads above water in difficult times? Here are some tips.
Focus on Retaining Key Personnel
A great employee can do more than just their own job. They often go above and beyond, and their presence provides a morale boost for everyone they work with. During difficult economic times, it’s essential not to take your employees for granted and instead to focus on retention.
You can do this by making sure your records are in order so there aren’t any errors in payroll or promotions that cause discontent. Check in with managers and make sure they are supporting top employees in every way they can. If you can, talk to the employees themselves and learn what ideas they have for improving operations and customer service — and then take action.
Replacing employees is costly in purely financial terms, but many times the true damage is in the training, knowledge, efficiency, and team spirit that walks out the door. Do everything you can to retain these folks, especially during tough times.
Work on Your Leadership Skills
When things are constantly changing, you may be focused on business and the people you manage. However, maintaining and improving your own skills is just as important. What classes can you take? What surveys can you ask your employees to do that will help you pinpoint and improve your shortcomings?
Having great leadership skills gives you significant advantages. Strong leadership allows your company to be more profitable and efficient. People have confidence in your decisions during turbulent times, and you have an easier time getting buy-in. Your employees perform better under good leadership, and your brand will benefit as well.
Working on your own skills is not something to overlook, especially when you’re facing constant change.
Finally, do your best to stay on top of the many changes taking place around you. Make sure you regularly are briefed on important news. For instance, do you live in an area that’s considering a local minimum wage above the national requirement? If so, that could impact your operations.
COVID-19 responses continue to evolve throughout 2020 as well, and it’s important to stay informed about the most recent requirements and best practices. You want employees to feel confident in their workspaces and safe coming to work. If customers come to your location, it’s essential to keep them safe as well.
Other changes to keep in mind include your industry landscape, any upcoming awards the business can apply for to win positive publicity, changes in marketing strategy, and how consumers are responding to your outreach efforts.
Leading Through Change Never Changes
While no one thought 2020 would be the year it has been, what we all knew is that it would bring change. So will 2021 and every year afterward. As a leader, you need to be informed and ready to lead your company through whatever you will face in the future.
By keeping up with current events, continually improving your leadership skills, and focusing on retaining key employees, you’ll position the company to not only survive but to thrive, even in the toughest conditions.
Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t frantically updating his news feeds, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the beach and read detective novels from the 1930s.