It’s a sad fact: Economic downturns and recessions are going to happen from time to time. That can put a lot of stress on everyone, including managers and their employees. No industry is 100% safe from feeling the pinch of a recession, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic or overreact.
Here are some things to consider to remain a strong manager when things get rocky:
A good leader will be direct and transparent about a difficult situation. There’s no need to make anyone nervous before there’s reason to be, but providing periodic updates about the health of your company or the changing economic situation, will help your employees feel informed and empowered instead of like they’re in the dark about their jobs. A lack of information and honesty can make a tense situation worse.
Consider changes that could help alleviate financial strain.
You might need to implement a hiring or pay raise freeze until things turn around. That might mean employees having to cover for open positions, which will be asking a lot of your team. Another option might be to consider the services or products your company offers and eliminate those that are less successful or in demand in order to save some costs. Take a hard look at your budgets and see where changes might be possible to give yourself a little more breathing room. Again, be upfront and honest with your team about what’s happening and why.
If downsizing is needed, be upfront about it.
Unfortunately, layoffs might be in the cards. To ease the process and the stress, tell your team exactly when and why these positions are being cut. Do what you can to help those employees who are being laid off by giving them letters of recommendation, offering to help them find new employment with other companies (or within other areas of your company if that’s a possibility) or taking other steps to help ease them into a stressful and uncertain time. Trying to cover things up or refusing to discuss staffing changes with your remaining employees will make it more difficult and could breed resentment.
Be as positive as possible.
This is not a time for pizza parties, but it is time to do what you can to keep people’s spirits up. Tell your team that things are difficult now, but it will get better. As time progresses, keep them updated; let them know when you have good news to share when you might be able to hire new people when any pay freezes or hiring freezes are ended.
Keep your door open.
People might be nervous and worried, and they could have a lot of questions for you. Even if you don’t have a lot of answers to give right away, making yourself available to your employees can be a comfort, so that they have someone to talk to. It’s possible you might get the same questions from the same people every so often; resist responding in frustration or annoyance. Your team will be nervous and anxious about their jobs and will look to you for reassurance.
Navigating a team during economic difficulties is stressful for you too, of course, but your employees will need you to be calm and steady. That’s the best course of action for everyone.
If you need other tips, or if hiring temporary workers is an option for keeping your staffing numbers a little higher without taking on full-time permanent employees until the economy shores up, call Debbie’s Staffing. We have great candidates who are ready to get to work right away, and we’d be happy to introduce you. Give Debbie’s Staffing a call and let’s help you work through this trying time.