By Christopher Roberts
The last few years have been quite challenging for the world economy. It was the pandemic first, and the economic winter now that has been posing quite a threat to the professional lives of not hundreds or thousands, but tens of thousands of people globally. Even as several countries are grappling with the situation of unemployment of their citizens and keeping their economy afloat at the same time, the economic recession is creating much angst among the working cohort.
Engaging employees in such times of uncertainty can become a challenge owing to decreased morale, stress, and financial insecurity. However, maintaining engagement is crucial to ensure that the company can weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side. Here are a few strategies to help keep employees engaged during a recession:
Keep the communication channel open and active: Keep employees informed about the company’s financial status, plans for the future, and any changes that might impact their roles. This helps employees feel like they are part of the solution and gives them a sense of control.
Emphasise on the importance of their work: Make sure that employees understand how their work contributes to the company’s success, and how it benefits the organisation and customers. More importantly, involve them in ideation and strategising for the business whenever possible, and make them feel involved in the business’ evolution. After all, there is no involvement without commitment.
Offer flexibility: Much has changed with the way staff prefer to work after the pandemic. It is important that as an organisation you assess the type of flexibility your staff prefer and allow them that flexibility with appropriate checks in place. These may be working from home, modifying work schedules, providing an option between part-time and full-time working models, etc. This can help alleviate stress and make it easier for employees to balance work and personal responsibilities.
Foster a sense of community: Encourage employees to support each other, participate in team-building activities both virtually and in-person, and celebrate successes together. Encourage group activities, ideation sessions, regular trainings and workshops for technical and personal development, etc.
Rewards and recognitions: Show appreciation for employees’ hard work and dedication, even if bonuses or raises are not possible in difficult economic situations. Small gestures like verbal recognition, thoughtful notes, or even a gift card can go a long way in earning employee loyalty, which is a great strength when the company is going through tough times.
Support employee wellness: Offer resources or benefits that help employees manage stress and maintain their physical and mental health. Access to anonymous counselling, support groups and medical benefits plays a significant role in proving to your staff that you value them, care for them and support them in times of need. Implementing these strategies can help foster a sense of purpose, belonging, and stability among employees, even during difficult times.
Christopher Roberts is the Managing Director, Engaged Strategy, and creator of the Total Engagement Model®. The Total Engagement Model® are registered trademarks of Engaged Marketing Pty Ltd and Christopher Roberts.