Dr. Joseph Castelberry mused that ‘uncertainty is what makes leadership necessary in the first place,’ which is abundantly evident for managers and CEOs navigating economic volatility. As leadership, your goal is to ensure small business recession survival while identifying and implementing employee performance improvement suggestions to empower your entire organization to persevere and thrive. Here are ways to improve employee work performance while helping them endure economic uncertainty:
Open, Honest Communication
In the face of economic uncertainty, open, honest, consistent, and relevant communication is the lynchpin of small business recession survival.
Employee performance improvement suggestions during such trying times often boil down to candid communication. It is more vital than ever for leadership to communicate frequently and openly and engage in a dialogue with employees.
Even if you don’t have updates, consistent communication is essential because employees often assume the worst when leadership is reticent. Still, it is more important than ever to be transparent about what is transpiring and actively listen without judgment.
Whether you are relaying information about tightening budgets or shifting targets, empowering employees by giving them a voice is essential.
Emphasize Recognition and Inclusion
Harvesting a judgment-free culture that emphasizes recognition and inclusion is another crucial employee performance improvement suggestion during economic uncertainty.
Cultivating this organizational environment makes employees feel valued, heard, and empowered to succeed, which is one of the best ways to improve work performance. Establishing this sense of unity makes your team more productive and adaptable to change.
Ask employees to share thoughts on projects, recognize individual efforts for a job well done, and ensure employees know you are there to listen without judgment to optimize resilience, minimize attrition, and validate and alleviate their concerns.
Optimize Cash Management
In the end, one of the best ways to guarantee small business recession survival is to take necessary precautions during uncertain times. This is a key employee performance improvement suggestion because your team will have increased confidence in leadership.
There are many cash management strategies to prepare your company and team for uncertain waters, and much of it can be distilled down to a simple concept: executing fundamentals. Cash management strategies to consider include:
- Regularly review cash reserves; set a goal to maintain a certain level
- Revamp communication with clients to inform them of payments/price increases
- Reduce expenses, inefficiencies, and unnecessary losses
- Repay debts with the highest interest rates / Refinance debts when interest rates fall
- Optimize marketing to target higher quality leads
- Improve profit margins by ensuring sales team sells on value not on price
- Optimize inventory management
- Optimize credit with lenders and investors
- Scale automation where possible
- If you’re a manager or leader, fire yourself as “one of the doers”. You are very likely the most expensive person performing the work! Stop it! This frees you up to work on higher value things for the company.
Convey Your Vision and Set Realistic Goals
As a leader, it is essential to provide a vision for your team to pursue. Ultimately, conveying this vision and providing a roadmap to achieve it is one of the best employee performance improvement suggestions with a looming recession.
Employees want to know they are working toward a larger, singular vision and goal, which is one of the best ways to improve their work performance. Be honest about what you need from them, amended goals, and budget adjustments.
Ensure every employee understands the initiatives and projects you will or will not discontinue and why. Set both short- and long-term goals, but reiterate that the situation is fluid and that you don’t have a crystal ball, so you don’t have all the answers.
Lastly, after each meeting, ensure each task or project has someone responsible for executing it to establish team cohesion and enhance efficiency.
Focus on Morale
Focusing on morale is an essential employee performance improvement suggestion for leaders facing an imminent economic downturn.
One of the best ways to enable small business recession survival is to focus on connecting with employees as individuals and building rapport. Ultimately, this makes your team feel more secure despite economic unknowns.
Offering opportunities like mentorship programs and allowing them to take time off when feeling burnt out are excellent ways to optimize morale and show you care about each team member and their future.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to set the tone. During uncertain times, you must explicitly convey and reiterate to your employees that they should not participate mentally in the recession or downturn.
Communicate that you are aware of the economic conditions and want to proceed frugally minimize risk, but emphasize these are things that you do regardless of conditions. Engaging mentally with market fluctuations adds unneeded stress.
Schedule a Consultation to Learn Ways to Improve Employee Work Performance in the Face of the Unknown
As a manager, you are a leader, and as a leader, you are responsible for so much more than just your bottom line. In the face of an economic downturn, small business recession survival hinges on those who make your success possible: your employees. Still, learning and implementing essential employee performance improvement suggestions is nearly impossible without the help of a premier leadership and executive coaching service. Fortunately, at Consilio, we offer unparalleled leadership training that can fortify your organization against the unknown and enable you to stay afloat and ahead of the competition, no matter how choppy the waters get. Schedule a consultation to learn more.