Creating Loyalty with Employees During Tough Times

20 Aug

By: Sheilah Griggs

The economy is struggling and everyone is making tough cuts to their budgets. But that isn’t the only battle business owners are waging. Some are facing employee breakdowns (JetBlue), some are facing the departure of a CEO (HP), and some may even be facing bankruptcy (American Apparel). One thing that companies don’t have to spend a lot on and that is often overlooked is employee’s happiness. In times of crisis, it’s easy for CEO’s and VP’s to become consumed with it, but that usually inspires panic. The number one asset you have are your employees, so here are some tips for creating loyalty with them during tough times.

1. Honesty

  • There is no hiding when business is slow, especially from those who are executing the work, so keep them posted.
  • Address the issue directly so that fear won’t grow in the dark. ….. “Business is slow. We get it, we don’t like it either and we are working to change it.”
  • Allow employees the appropriate forum to ask questions & provide ideas. Let them feel part of the solution if they want. Even if what they are offering has been tried, give them the opportunity to express their thoughts. (The wise approach varies depending on size of the company.)

2. Attitude

  • The attitude trickle down effect becomes more of a flood in tough times. A conscious effort has to be made by owners to check their fear at the door. Fear is totally paralyzing, and in tough times you need everyone to be as productive as possible.

3. Gratitude

  • Praise is highly important to weather the storm. Insecurities are high and morale low. Letting someone know they are doing a good job and that they are appreciated can go a long way to change the atmosphere in an office.

4. Integrity

  • Do what you say you are going to do. If a paycheck will have to be missed to keep the company afloat, set definitive dates when those funds will be paid back and do so on time. In tough periods sometimes your word is all you have, so keep it. No matter what the final outcome for the business entity, your integrity will be in tact moving forward.

5. Suck It Up

  • Swallow your pride, bury the ego and do what is right. Do what you would want someone to do for you.
  • Whether dealing with employees or vendors, no communication is bad communication so if you can’t pay them, call them.
  • Communicate candidly about costs and payment. In our experience, vendors will work with you and employees will respect you if you allow them the choice to move on if that is what they need to do. It’s one of those “put your big girl panties on & deal with it” kind of moments… you’ll be glad you did as you move forward.

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