2010 is quickly coming to a close. And as organizations prepare for the coming year, the reality of the economy’s “new normal” workplace is clearly evident.
A “new normal” can mean many different things. For some it means the continuation of employees doing additional job tasks due to staff not being replaced. And for others it could mean another few months of wondering what may happen to jobs.
While the economy is rebounding we can expect a slow recovery into 2011. Unemployment remains at just under 10% and spending will continue to be very cautious.
Because of these conditions, it’s important that leaders remember that your employees are still experiencing the very real emotion of fear and uncertainty.
So what does that mean for you?
It means it is important to find ways to be honest with your employees. That may not mean sharing every detail of the company’s plans, but real and honest answers are needed nonetheless.
Here are three ways to keep honesty in the forefront
#1 Here’s where we are today.
A leader can’t make promises about anyone’s future. But you can share your feelings about the organization’s future and explain that, as of today, you very much need everyone be part of it.
It’s means being able to relate that message of, “Here’s the situation we’re in and here’s what it means to you. Here’s how you fit into our plans and strategies.” That’s what people want to know. What does it mean for them? And do they have a future here?
#2 You can’t replace face time.
Regardless of your industry or company size, your employees want [and need] to see you. You can’t replace getting out and talking to your team. When times are strained, employees begin to make up their version of the truth when they don’t see you. Those behind closed door meetings are typically the origins of the rumor mill. That one on one interaction creates an opportunity to dispel the rumors and thank employees for their contribution. Time is an essential building block for trust, particularly in difficult times.
#3 Connect the dots
Leaders often forget the power of perspective. Your view of the organization includes budgets, forecasts and stakeholders. Your employee’s perspective is much different. He deals with his daily work schedule and customers x, y and z.
As those decisions are made that impact the bigger picture, don’t forget to translate that information into your employee’s language: How does this decision affect what employees do each day? And what does this mean to our customers? That ability to connect the dots helps employees better understand business decisions. And that understanding yields trust and engagement to you and the company.
2011 is days away. Whatever business decisions wait in the future, don’t miss the opportunity to be real with your employees. You know what? They can handle it.