How To Help Employees Navigate Through A Business's Financial Crisis

Being a business owner or manager isn’t the cushiest job. You have a host of responsibilities towards both your company and your loyal workers. Imagine how difficult it must be to run a company when things aren’t going very well. You have to juggle difficult decisions and employee satisfaction during a volatile time for the company. Employees won’t be on your side during a crisis like this. They will want to find someone to blame for issues and you will be the most likely candidate. On the other side of things, you have the company to take care of. What kind of decisions can you make to help keep the company afloat?

  1. Don’t hide problems from your employees

As with any issue, the first step to solving it is to admit that you have a problem. Every company has problems. They say that the road to success is paved with failures. You shouldn't look at it as a failure. Instead, you should focus on helping to get your company out of it. In the meantime, you have to inform your employees and coworkers about the state of the company.

A lot of managers might not actually come to terms with the fact that the company is doing badly. Denial can be a very powerful tool in these kinds of situations. It’s not uncommon to see people in leadership positions chalk up the company’s issues to a temporary setback. This can be a dangerous mindset because it leads to delaying any actions that could help save the company.

Not every company and its staff react the same way to this kind of news. Startups and newly formed companies are relatively stoic compared to others. You see them trying their best to work on resolving the issues before they spiral out of control. Older companies that have had many successful years under their belts might lag behind when it comes to solving problems. It’s easy to linger on past successes and hope that things will turn out better. Neither the past nor the future can get a company out of financial issues, which is why it’s important to focus on the now.

  1. Make sure their voices are heard

When tough times arise, employees will be hit hard by any changes that the company implements. At some point, it could affect the quality of their work and the numbers on their paycheck. This will lead to them voicing their opinion on various media. Thanks to social media, they will always have an audience to listen to them vent their frustrations. Keep in mind that social media can potentially reach a huge audience.

The people that your employee reaches with their complaints could include the target demographic that you cater to. This could prove to be problematic for your business. Managers are right to think that this kind of negative publicity could hurt their business. The media-savvy populace of today puts more trust into what regular staff have to say instead of what they are told by corporate officials. It’s no surprise that insider information is considered much more valuable than what a spokesperson says. After all, why should the public trust the word of those who are paid to represent their company?

This phenomenon leads to managers and CEOs making hasty decisions in the heat of the moment. Often, communications are kept to a minimum and employees are discouraged from voicing their opinions online. Some even take it a step further by threatening their employees with termination if they should bad-mouth the company. This line of thinking can backfire in the most spectacular way. There are only a couple of things that the media loves to report on more than the woes of employees. If they find out that corporate staff tried to silence the voice of someone with a lower rank, the news could spread much further than the original complaints ever could.

Take into consideration the fact that your employees are only human. They are allowed to vent their frustrations online and preventing them from doing so will only delay the inevitable. Employees are the biggest factor in the company recovery process. Despite what you may think, it pays off to let their voices be heard.

Human resources personnel and communications experts disagree on how to deal with employees voicing their negative opinions. Blocking social media is one move that both groups consider to be ineffective. The part that keeps them divisive on the topic is whether or not employees are allowed to speak on behalf of their company. HR professionals think that the best move would be to inform employees properly regarding any changes in the company beforehand. With adequate information, they can’t add their own misconceptions to their social media posts.

  1. Expand corporate debt, but do it slowly

In the current market, corporate debt around the globe is a market that is worth paying attention to. It has become particularly fragile and sensitive to shifts in the market. There has been a lot of expansion in corporate lending in the past few years. The risks associated with it have also increased. Since the last crisis, corporate lending and bond issuance have been rocky territory for corporations. As a result of the market ballooning, a huge number of bonds will mature in the next couple of years. Interest rates are constantly rising and this creates a bad environment for refinancing. It’s not out of the question that a new bond crash could arise soon.

Your company should be proactive and consider a much slower approach to debt expansion. If taking on any new debt is necessary, you have to prepare your company for the risks of growing debt. The smartest minds in economics all agree that debt could present a problem sometime in the next decade. Because of this, slowing things down and looking at the big picture might be the best move you could make.

  1. Optimize the workforce

When things are going great, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t cut people some slack. Unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures. You can have people making mistakes in this kind of critical period. Explain why you’re making stricter calls when it comes to projects and deadlines. Exercise your authority and make sure that work goes uninterrupted until you’re all back on the track to success.

Toxicity can be especially bad when things go awry. People won't react the same way to bad news in the company. Some workers might become toxic during this period. An unfriendly coworker might not want to cooperate with others, which could lead to problems during larger projects. When this happens, it’s important to remember that you have to create a friendly and cooperative environment in your office.

Still, you can't go around firing everyone that is a bit moody, can you? One bad apple couldn't possibly ruin the bunch. Unfortunately, the saying implies that one apple can, in fact, ruin the whole bunch. Research shows that having a negative and toxic worker in your team could be extremely disadvantageous even if they are the most productive member of the team. Teamwork is much more important than efficiency, even during a company crisis. Your best bet would be to cut them loose and make room for some positivity.

  1. Focus on smaller achievements

It's easy to fall into a rut when your company isn't doing well. Workers will often be apathetic towards new projects because they feel that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. This line of thinking will only lead to further problems down the road. If there's anything worth motivating your workers over, it's projects in a time of crisis.

How will you encourage them to keep working just as hard as before? There are a couple of ways that have been proven effective. Point out that every single small success is considered a big step towards helping to aid in the company recovery. This way, any contribution will be much appreciated. Even when you’re drowning in paperwork and projects, it’s important to keep your cool and lead your team forward.

On the other hand, the importance of learning and experience can’t be disregarded. You should remind your employees that they’re not just working for the benefit of the company. They’re also working to gain experience in their chosen field and better themselves. Slacking off on projects won’t help them improve at all.

  1. Help workers cope and move on

If your company is going under, it’s going to affect workers and managers alike. Sometimes, the issues that plague the business are too much for management to handle and you might run out of options. Not business lasts forever and every single one of them experiences an end of sorts. Most businesses go through a voluntary liquidation process because it’s the most painless and efficient way to move on.

No matter how often it happens, it can be difficult for employees to go through this process. Some might end up losing their jobs which can be tough on anyone. In this kind of situation, your job should be to inform them about the decision to liquidate and explain why it’s happening. Despite the evidence to the contrary, many coworkers and managers might think that the company still has a leg to stand on. It’s a last-ditch attempt to reason with higher management to keep their jobs a little while longer. Explain that there’s no use bargaining because the business is going under and liquidating.

No matter what happens to the company, you shouldn’t hang them out to dry. At the very least, help by signing their letters of recommendation for other job positions. Similar businesses might be looking for the same kind of workforce, which is why a collaborative effort to employ them might be the best solution.

  1. Create groups for problem solving

When your day is full of problems, a problem-solving group sounds like a godsend. Whether your group is formal or informal, having people to go around and help with minor and major issues would do great things for office productivity. Staff needs to be motivated and energized in order to function at their best. You would be surprised at the number of people who would get out of their way to help their coworkers. This happens because they want to have a semblance of control during this volatile company period. Helping each other is a great way to establish work relationships and proper teamwork.

Don’t hesitate to let your team help you in your day to day tasks. Making difficult decisions can take a toll on managers and doing regular work might be made difficult. If your team of problem solvers is willing to help you, you shouldn’t hesitate to accept their help.

If one department isn't coping well under the stress of mounting work, you should relocate some manpower from another department that is doing better. It won't always go over well, especially considering that different workers have different specialties. Still, don't disregard the boost in morale. Even if your problem-solving group only offers a tiny bit of help to others, it will further motivate everyone to work harder. As long as the spirit of teamwork is alive, any help is appreciated.

Conclusion

A hard crisis can affect any company. Smaller businesses are especially prone to them because they might not have the manpower to compensate. If your company stops bringing in revenue, a host of problems occur. Employees aren’t happy and work starts to stagnate. It’s important to keep your cool in times like these. As a manager, it’s your duty to make sure that employees are able to navigate through this crisis without losing productivity. If work starts going downhill, there’s no way that the company can recover. It’s a vicious cycle that many businesses don’t recover from. If you follow some of these tips, you’re going to be on your way to weathering the financial storm that hit your company.




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