During tough economic times, focus your attention on communicating often with your employees. Talk to them about how your business is doing. Let them know if their jobs are safe. Be straight with them. Give them the information they need–not sugar coated, but no Chicken-Little either. Job security has moved to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy. If employees are in the dark about the organization’s health, their productivity and focus will tank. If they think their job is in jeopardy, forget about loyalty. Have your supervisors meeting, talking and listening to their people daily. Provide them the message you want communicated. Get feedback from your supervisors. And if your supervisors do not have the skills to do this, get them leadership training fast.
Acknowledge the tough economy and its impact on your business. Give them straight-talk. Employees want communications about the economic climate. Seek their input. By asking their opinions, you are giving them power and control, two ingredients necessary to improve performance and productivity. Communicate constantly. Timely, frequent, ongoing communication is a must. Keep your employees updated on the state of the business and focused on your corporate goals. Emphasize problem solving over blame; innovation over the status quo; and collaboration over going it alone. Remind people about why you’re in business. Make sure they see and understand the big picture—and how they fit in it.
Remain positive. Address the “woe is me” mentality fast. Negative attitudes are destructive and must be eradicated. You get what you tolerate.