Managing staff morale in times of economic challenge

Staff are an organisation’s best asset, surely in the 21st Century that’s generally accepted as true? But employees can also be the cause of greatest concern, worry and risk if they’re not managed well, treated with respect, and most importantly, treated as individual human beings.

When times are tough economically, as we’ve seen for a number of years in the UK now, the pressures on business can be significant. Investment in activities considered as ‘non-essential’ is often reduced, in favour of a complete focus on income generating tasks.  This is of course completely understandable especially for those businesses struggling to survive.

For all organisations, balancing the books, whilst retaining staff as well as their morale and commitment, when income is reduced, is challenging.  In my experience, what matters more than anything else in this scenario, is for management and staff to keep the lines of communication as open as possible.  This includes keeping staff informed of new developments and challenges facing the business, regularly reassuring staff of business continuity, if applicable, as well as considering the personal challenges being faced by staff regarding finance and related issues, that could be impacting their work.

I appreciate not every business is able to offer staff coaching services across the board to all employees who are struggling as a result of reduced income or wages, increased cost of living etc., but showing an interest and offering realistic solutions, or simply just reassurance, can have a really positive effect on staff morale, and ultimately productivity.

If your staff are worried or concerned about what’s happening at home or about job stability, offering them advice and guidance can mean a happier more committed workforce, along with an appreciation that those at the top are aware of individual employee challenges, at every level.