Tough Times

Tough Times

  • Date: Friday 20th April 2018
  • PDF: Download

It’s difficult to motivate your workforce when times are tough. Most businesses go through strong periods and times of downturn, when redundancies or lay-offs can affect team morale and efficiencies. Here is a quick top 10 list of techniques that can help you on your way:

1.       Make a plan

You can’t talk to your team about changes if you don’t know what they will look like. Analyse your situation, discuss it with your external advisors and make a plan for the short, medium and long-term future.

2.       Understand your statutory obligations

Are you a charity, under obligations to contact the charity commission?

Do you have a recognised union that needs to be consulted?

Could the upcoming changes have an impact on the way you service high-risk or high-security sites? Review your insurance obligations, particularly those relating to legal claims cover, as they may need you to communicate the changes to insurers before you commence proceedings.

3.       Choose confidants

The risk of telling everybody that you’re in financial difficulties is that your workforce may swiftly leave the sinking ship and your reputation can suffer as a result. Nominate a team of people you need on your side, such as your Operations Manager or Accounts Manager. Be open about the issues, make it clear that these are confidential, and ask for their support over the coming weeks. You may need access to records or reports and your confidants can help you pull everything together.

4.       Who needs to know…and when?

Do you need to make a press announcement? Do you need to contact your customers? Are there stakeholders, members or investors to consider? Make a list of who needs to know and in what order and use it to launch into step five…

5.       Get the timing right

Re-structures can be confusing and it is vitally important to map out your strategy before you speak to your team. Consider shortfalls in areas that suffer cuts. Think about how long it might take to recruit for any new roles. Calculate how much it will cost you to made people redundant. A good way of doing this is by putting together a timeline of events, considering meetings, communication / announcements, etc. Be realistic and tick off actions when they have been completed, to ensure you stick to your timeline.

6.       Be on stage

People need leadership. If you can’t keep it together and demonstrate a positive attitude, your team will follow your example. Think of it as going ‘on stage’. Put on a smile, make a plan for the day and find a coping strategy to compensate for your stage time (such as speaking to your family or business partners or an external consultant or counsellor).

7.       Communicate clearly

No waffle. No political platitudes. The more convoluted the message, the more confused your employees will be. Be clear on what needs to happen and when. Rather than saying “we might have to consider redundancies across the business over the coming months”, be specific and announce redundancy consultations in the areas that require cut-backs.

8.       Don’t be scared to answer questions

People will talk and they will have questions. By opening your door and inviting people to approach you, you build trust and confidence with your staff. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t make it up! Saying “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” makes you come across more credible.

9.       Pick up on issues

You may pick up on niggles and grumbles – make sure you face up to them, rather than letting them go! If people feel unsupported, the trust you painstakingly build can easily be eroded.

10.   Don’t forget the ones left behind

Teams suffer from tough times and it may take months to re-build what has been damaged. Make sure you show compassion, empathy and provide focus and positive leadership following times of change.

 Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG


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