How to Lead through the Downturn

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“Morgan Stanley forecasts Eurozone GDP growth to plunge 3.3% in 2009 – the steepest recession since 1945…but recovery is expected in 2010”

Commentators continuously speculate how much longer the recession will last; 6 months, 12 months…one thing is certain, it will not end today.  However, there is a lot you can do at this time to benefit your business.

This article offers some ideas for leading your business through these difficult times in preparation for a successful recovery. These include managing your primary assets [the employees] and remembering your organisation’s corporate image, reputation and responsibility.

Plan for the Recovery: Assess your current employment outlay and feasible cutbacks without impacting on your ability to respond effectively when the recovery arrives. Avoid unnecessarily costly actions such as making positions redundant now and recruiting again later for the same positions when the market recovers.

Consider

•    Reviewing your organisation area by area to ensure efficient work practices and procedures and to ensure the right skills are deployed in the right areas
•    Assessing the affects of natural turnover, offering voluntary redundancy and reviewing contract and temporary employees.
•    Reducing salaries and reassessing the benefits provided.
•    Offering flexible working and job sharing
•    Reducing or eliminating overtime working – consider alternative options including short-time working, temporary lay-offs or sabbaticals.
•    Retraining and Redeployment where skills become obsolete but may prove efficient elsewhere.

Enhance Employee Involvement: Employee engagement at times of uncertainty is critical. Do not allow rumours to drive communication. Opening dialogue about the challenging time your business may be facing will enable your team to understand and be involved in the decisions which need to be taken and the reasons for them. It has been proven that companies that engage with staff on a regular basis whether through media such as staff communication days or lunchtime talks have much greater retention figures than those that confine communication to the adhoc emails and newsletters.
Be creative with methods of motivation and use low cost incentives such as recognition schemes, team-building activities and employee awards to keep employees motivated and engaged in the business.

Prepare a Redundancy Strategy, Just in Case: Plan for how redundancies may be handled well in advance of any anticipated action. Ensure you are fully equipped to handle redundancy situations both individually and collectively, including legal requirements and constraints. Establish policies and procedures to be used if workforce reductions are unavoidable and ensure fairness and equity in all redundancy situations.

Provide Redundant Employees with the support to find new jobs: Those facing redundancy will need support. Offer outplacement services and counselling, whether on a group or individual basis, to help redundant employees to understand where they are, take control the situation and move on to the next stage of their careers.

Facilitate flexibility in working hours for impacted employees to look for alternative work or arrange training and explore the possibilities of support through training and advice from outplacement companies such as Springboard Consulting.

Recognise that redundancies and how you treat exiting employees will impact on an employee’s perception, attitude and loyalty to your organisation

For more information or should you have any queries relating to this article, please contact Springboard Consulting on 01 – 2800063.   
A: 1A Glasthule Road Glasthule Co Dublin   T:  01 2800063     W: www.springboardconsulting.ie

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