by Helen Wilson
Scenario one, the employer’s obvious blunder: During a crisis, he or she tries to engage with staff in the same manner as before, as if nothing unusual is happening and gradually the employer loses both the confidence of the employees. In this situation, what can be improved in communication before it’s too late?
Every company faces difficulties. Sometimes they are due to the general economic situation in a region, country, or world, as, for example, during an economic crisis. And sometimes these difficulties are associated exclusively with the peculiarities of the development of the company itself, the features of its market niche, etc…Whatever the cause of the difficulties, they necessitate a greater focus on the employee. This is doubly important if your company is going to overcome hardships without losing valuable specialists, not wasting the trust of the remaining employees, and not ruining your employer’s reputation.
Here are Ten Basic Rules that are, sadly, not always easy to follow. They assist you in maintaining employee morale amid the company’s difficulties.
Step #1 to Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Allow workers to share their feelings about the current challenges and changes at the organization. If you restrict them by telling them that they must “go forward” and conquer obstacles, the emotions they are experiencing will not go away.
Step #2 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Don’t put all of your energy into solving the problems you’re having. Remember, the key is to obtain employees’ understanding and support. As a result, before you inform them about how you understand the situation and summon them to do something, you must demonstrate that you respect their thoughts and concerns about the future.
Step #3 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Encourage constructive criticism. If employees express different points of view that differ from yours, then they should do so in a completely safe manner – without risking being labeled as a “threat to team spirit”.
Step #4 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Empower staff to handle their own work-related concerns, empower them to be proactive and take constructive action. The latter is the strongest response to the fears and helplessness that sometimes grip staff during a difficult period for the company.
Step #5 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: To help employees be proactive and productive, think and discuss the short-term goals and objectives of the organization. This will not only give them confidence and a clear sense of purpose, but it will also focus workers’ attention in a useful direction, displacing demoralizing self-pity and fear of what is happening.
Step #6 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Communicate with your employees more often. Make sure that every step the company takes is clear to its employees. Psychologists note when people feel vulnerable and unprotected, their tolerance of uncertainty decreases sharply. To feel safe, staff need to know as much as possible about what is happening. In order to communicate more effectively with them, find out what information they lack about the company’s activities, what they want to know more, and how they’d like to learn more about it.
Step #7 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: When you present your point of view to people about what is happening or explain how to overcome difficulties facing the organization and why that is, use examples, comparisons and analogies. This method of presenting information is much more effective than the dry style of formal presentation, which is full of abstract facts and figures.
Step #8 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: Make sure that you really communicate with employees by all means available (these can be meetings, general or selective, joint breakfasts, focus groups, etc…). This is especially important in times of crisis for the business. Constantly communicating with the staff, you get simply invaluable feedback, which helps to find a truly effective strategy for managing and interacting with your employees. Respect is a very important factor for employees, it creates a sense of belonging to the organization. This feeling encourages workers to take initiative and is a great preventative measure against helplessness and demoralization.
Step #9 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: When you ask your employees for help (ideas, suggestions, initiatives), make clear what you’re interested in and outline the acceptable limits. If you do not take advantage of your employees’ feedback, they will become annoyed and upset.
Step #10 in Supporting Employees during Difficult Times: The victories won together in this difficult period, or at least individual successes, be sure to celebrate together with the workers, celebrate both formally and informally. In difficult times, it is particularly important that staff members do not remain discouraged and occasionally feel victorious.
All in all, challenging conditions are a good opportunity to test the motivation and loyalty of employees, because now more than ever companies need their engagement. The leaders’ decisions could be the best response to employees’ concerns, and everyone’s well-coordinated efforts will help the company emerge from the crisis with less losses.