Engage your Employees to
Beat the Recession
"I have recently
had to let some people go. They were great people, but with our
financial projections, we had to downsize. Some of my current staff has
begun to get a bit discouraged about the company as a result of slowing
sales and their friends no longer working here. What are some ways that
I can make sure my remaining team stays excited and engaged during a
tough time?" - Worried Business Owner
Get your people
involved in the come-back.
Have a meeting and
show them the numbers – where revenue was the last few years, and how
much it’s dropped off. Explain the relationship between sales,
headcount, and profits. Take questions, give straight answers, and
Share your vision for
the future. It might be emerging from the recession stronger than ever,
or simply surviving. Regardless, give them the unvarnished truth. And,
be sure to set the tone as positive and optimistic.
Ask for their active
participation and support. First, banish the rumor mill and negativity.
If your people have concerns or complaints, they should voice them in
company meetings, to a supervisor or to you. No grousing around the
Put a mechanism in
place to collect ideas for improving the situation: Customers. Marketing
and sales activities. Cost of goods. Overhead expenses. Productivity.
Of course, your team
will want to know how things are going. Have regular follow-up meetings
and post results on the wall. Show them that their ideas are being
implemented. Share the results, and acknowledge those who submitted
ideas. Learn from mistakes and celebrate even small wins.
Transparency, engage your team, be smart and work hard.
Bill Collier is the author of “How to
Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a Life” and is
the St. Louis area coach for The Great Game of Business. He helps
businesses teach their employees to think and act like owners. He can be
reached at 314-221-8558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.