No One Said It Would Be Easy
Things were going well. You had a grasp of what your organization’s challenges were, or at least you had a good idea of where you needed to go and how you were going to get there. Then you turned on the news. Depending where you live and what part of the world economy your business depends on for your growth, you are currently feeling like you have entered uncharted territory. We are better at tracking hurricanes and storms than predicting what is going to happen next in the economy. Consider this:
- You are seeing gas prices dropping and then rising again faster than ever in our lifetime - now you are re-revising your budget and making lifestyle changes to reduce your fuel consumption.
- You are being told that now is not the time to have debt or to look to borrow money while you watch interest rates and the dollar rise, and everything all of sudden is on sale.
- You are hearing the conversation shift again from down-sizing and hiring freezes back to employee retention and warnings about the return of the talent crisis.
As when a hurricane passes through, we are experiencing brief periods of misleading calm before the chaos continues on its path. In today’s economy, surviving the storm has become an organization’s main priority... and is the new normal to which we must adapt.
The uncertainty that makes quick changes necessary means organizations must rely on their well-trained employees to carry them through. Hard working, focused and engaged employees working together, aware of the latest weather report and confident that they can trust the people around them to do their part are what will guide you through turbulent times. They can help you navigate out of harms way and offer solutions that no one else has thought of to help calm everyone around them.
It is Always About Your People
Nothing is more critical than having competent people and helping them develop the skills necessary to navigate the storm ahead. As we live through these turbulent times making sure your employees have the talent, skill and knowledge is more important than ever. Here are some key things to do – in good times and bad:
Always Look to Improve Your Team: If you are living under a hiring freeze it does not mean stop improving the quality of the team. Now is not the time to protect non-productive team members. Now is the time to take inventory and look to see what you have. Good people are becoming available and organizations that have a Strategic Workforce Plan know what they are lacking on their existing team and are out filling the holes. Be sure managers take the important steps of recruiting for the 4 aspects of fit: Fit with the job, fit with the manager, fit with the team and fit with the organization. Insist on tools that help recruiters ask the right questions and help them make decision based on science instead of guesswork.
Do not assume anything about your employees. Know them better than they know themselves. New tools are available to tell you exactly who is working for you – their competencies, their weaknesses and their goals. Do not decide that you can apply the same management style to everyone and get the same results. A multitude of faces greet you when you walk into the department. They are likely to include four different generations, both genders, and different ethnicities. In the global marketplace, you will find variations even within identifiable groups. It is imperative that you learn what skills your employees have, the skills they are capable of acquiring and what it takes to keep them motivated.
Check the pulse of your key leaders. Are they engaged? A recent study reveals that more than half of senior executives possess “less than ideal emotional connection and alignment” to their organizations. Re-coaching and re-assignment based on the 4 aspects of fit will pay back with higher productivity and greater business results along with happier employees all around.
Have a Strategic Workforce plan and use it. Do not fear adjusting it as necessary. Traveling through a storm is much smoother and less alarming if you carefully map out your route before you proceed, tweak the course as needed, and make sure you have a team of willing and able employees to make the necessary changes as new unforeseen obstacles arise.
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