Blog Post

Supporting Your Employees Through Uncertain Times

"Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission." Anne M. Mulcahy
former CEO and chairwoman, Xerox Corporation

With the uncertain times we’re currently in, this quote from former CEO and chairwoman of Xerox Corporation, Anne M. Mulcahy, is more relevant than ever. With many businesses and organisations struggling, is there a risk of losing sight of what really makes your organisation tick: your people?

Here, our Senior Business Transformation Consultant, Harwinder Ghag, talks us through five ways employers can support their greatest asset – their team – through trying times.

  1. Provide stability – When the world around us is uncertain and ever-changing, people are naturally drawn to stability. Strong leadership during these times will act as a beacon for your employees and will help the organisation move forward in a united way to achieve the goals that you are striving for. Try and make considered decisions and stick to them; changing direction regularly creates uncertainty and starts to plant seeds of doubt in the mind of your employees.


  2. Plan ahead – As a leader, you need to demonstrate and trust in your vision, so keep plans realistic. You may need to be more inventive and the direction will have to have a Plan A, Plan B, and even a Plan C. Anticipating change and ‘what ifs’ and their impact is not easy or exact – but putting some thought into it will help mitigate potential negative impacts further down the line.


  3. Communicate openly and transparently – The golden rule for any business (and possibly one of the hardest to achieve) is communicating openly and transparently as it helps build trust. You should also consider the seniority level the comms come from - strategic, overarching communication should come from senior leaders, while day-to-day communication should come from line managers or team leaders.


  4. Listen – It’s not uncommon for a business to forget how important its employees are. If you ask, listen and build the correct culture, your employees will help you shape your strategy and future direction that not only best suits them, but also will best suit your business. This is not about relinquishing control but working together, utilising your greatest asset for collective gain.


  5. Be flexible – Do you pay your employees for sitting at a desk from nine until five or for their output? In the current climate, flexible working is key to having a productive and engaged workforce and leaders need to balance this with achieving targets. Set clear and manageable targets and deadlines for the output of your staff, shifting the focus to the target being achieved, rather than when in the day work is carried out. The blurring of home and work is becoming more normal and our ways of working and managing staff must adapt to this.

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