One needs only to look at the daily newspaper or the nightly news to get another dose of bad news related to the economy. Is it any wonder that people are paralyzed with fear?
There’s little doubt that the economy can’t get moving again until Americans begin to feel more secure about their future. If you’re an employer, you have a responsibility during this time of uncertainty to keep your employees informed about the good, the bad and the ugly as it relates to your business.
If you’re an employee, you have a right to expect that your managers will keep you informed of how your business is weathering the current economic downturn.
During the past couple of years, when times were good we had a practice in our company of conducting employee meetings every other month as one way of keeping our people informed of how the business was doing. As we began putting our plans together for 2009, it became apparent early on that this was going to be a tough year. So one of the first things we decided to do was increase the frequency of our employee meetings.
More meetings, not fewer
Rather than every other month, now we provide updates every single month. That comes from a belief that it’s even more important to communicate and keep our employees in the loop when times are tough than it is when things are going well. Even if some of the news may not be upbeat, it’s still important to keep people informed.
Have you ever been really sick? Until you knew what was wrong with you, did your mind sometimes race off, imagining some of the worst things that might be wrong? It seems we humans often have a tendency, lacking specific knowledge to the contrary, to imagine the worst about things.
That seems to be where we are as a country at this moment in time. Lacking specific knowledge to the contrary, we imagine the worst about our future prospects.
All across America, business owners have a unique role to play in restoring confidence in our economy. We need to demonstrate to our employees that we have a sound plan to weather the current downturn.
Even if some of the news might not be positive, it’s important to share what you know. When you’re willing to share tough news with your people, rather than try and keep it from them, it builds credibility with them.
Ask for others’ ideas
It’s a great time to enlist their ideas on a variety of fronts: how to reduce costs; how to go out and target new business; how to operate more efficiently.
Job security has rocketed to #1 in recent employee surveys about what is most important to them as related to their work. Your employee group is likely to be your greatest resource in coming up with new and creative ways to manage through the current downturn.
Get them involved! And make sure your people know of the things going on in your organization that are aimed at making you better in the future. They need to know about the investments in people, capital and technology you are making with an eye toward the future.
Two of the best things construction companies can do during an economic downturn are spending some quality time focused on how we can execute construction projects more efficiently, and determining how we can improve the level of communication with our customers. Many of the ideas that you’ll generate won’t cost much to implement, but they may make a world of difference in how your customers view your company.
Maybe this won’t be the year you’ll grow your business; but maybe it will be the year you prepare yourself for future growth.
The news recently has certainly not been the greatest. But people are currently imagining the worst. There’s no doubt we’re in a rough patch right now. But if we can get on to the business of dispelling peoples’ worst fears, we will start building some confidence for a brighter tomorrow.
We’ve got work to do!