All companies have their ups and downs, but usually weathering the storm means you come out ahead of where you where when trouble started.
Management troubles can be a huge issue—the restructuring of a company, the change of a favourite manager or the hiring of a difficult manager can drastically alter the experience of an employee.
The average job tenure in Australia is currently about four years, but McCrindle research has predicted that this will drop to three years by 2020. The same study suggests that we are “headed towards the biggest leadership succession ever”, with 40 per cent of today’s managers in small and family-run businesses retiring by 2020.
Such data, compounded with the usual dramas of the workplace, make the ability to steer employees through the storms an essential skill.
Here are a few tips on how to do it successfully.
Keeping lines of communication open is one of the easiest and simplest forms on change management, but one that few companies do well.
In fact, two-thirds of employees have reported that they didn’t receive enough information when their company went through corporate change, and not telling staff about changes can result in as much as a 42 per cent increase in misconduct.
Be as clear and open about company changes as good management permits, and ensure your door is open for questions and concerns at any time.
According to internal communications guru Bill Quirke, 91 per cent of employees will work towards the overall company goal if they know of their role in it. When staff don’t know their own role in the scheme of things, only 23 per cent will strive for the success of company goals.
When things change, it makes it harder for employees to know their own place in the company and how they individually contribute to the brand. Ensuring each staff member has a clear description of their own purpose will help them focus their energies on an overall goal, rather than the current tumult.
If you are in the middle of the troubles, it can be especially hard for you not to go to your staff to vent. After all, they know the troubles, the people involved, and they can lend a sympathetic ear.
However, uphold the professionalism to keep your worries to yourself, as talking to staff about them will only increase their unease.
No matter how bad things are, a little optimism goes a long way.
Make the time to highlight positive aspects of the workplace, and encourage others to do the same. Can you publically praise an employee for a job well done? Can you use some of the budget for simple uplifting acts like shouting the office pizza?
Focusing on the positives will help remind everyone that it’s not all doom and gloom.
Never stop educating and training your staff. It might be the first thing to fall off the list of priorities in tough times, but continued efforts to upskill employees will help them see a future with the company and feel valued.