One of the great challenges during a business rescue scenario is in keeping team morale high, especially while all kinds of changes are happening in the attempt to affect a business turnaround. Often team members are worried about being retrenched or perhaps they are concerned with changes that are being made. It is possible however, to get through a business rescue with team morale largely intact. Here are a few considerations that could help:
Keeping team morale intact during business turnarounds
1. Maintain open communication
Often during a business turnaround employees can end up feeling adrift and that management have taken a ‘command and control’ approach. Maintaining open lines of communication and where possible encouraging employee autonomy and innovation help to ensure that your staff still feel like their contribution is valued and that they are kept in the loop. Remember that your team live and breathe the work every day so they are in a unique position to understand and offer ideas. Let them know that a business rescue requires a team effort and that their contribution is not only valued, but could make a big difference to the company.
Communication is probably in fact one of the best tools you can use to keep team morale together. Often employees are not in a position where they usually need to understand the issues that management face in order to do their jobs, so if you take the time to explain what is going on you may find that the team is more understanding and can offer you valid solutions.
It’s all very well to encourage ideas from your team, but an important aspect of open communication is that you are seen to be listening. This does not mean that you need to take action on every idea, certainly some just will not be possible, but managers who ask employees for their views then let them gather dust are likely to see a downturn in team morale. Be seen to be listening and taking on the solutions that are possible, this will encourage more ideas and show your team that they are valued.
3. Openly recognize good work
It is human nature that we want to be recognized for the good work that we do, and during a business rescue, this has added importance. That is not to say that you need to spend large amounts of money on rewards; it is often the small things that are appreciated, perhaps recognition during the team meeting or an inexpensive reward such as a voucher. Recognition boosts team morale by openly letting your team members know how valued their input is. It can also provide a momentum boost that could be invaluable in assisting with your business turnaround.
4. Take a fresh look
It can be tempting during a business rescue to mark all new projects as unnecessary in a bid to keep costs down. Yes, it is necessary for the company to protect itself and eliminate expenses that are not absolutely necessary, but your new projects are not always the best place to be doing this. Take a look at anything new you have on from the view of whether it could in fact provide a significant boost to your company if you pull it off. Axing new projects can lead to stagnation and contribute to lower team morale. On the other hand, getting into a fresh new project can help energize your team members and could bring you great results!
5. Take time out
Whether it is for a fun activity or to volunteer for a good cause; show you value your team by providing the time for a diversion or to participate in something that is important to them. Again, this doesn’t need to involve large amounts of money; think about the things you can do to make a team meeting fun or how you can free up time for volunteering. Even if volunteering is a team activity that happens on the weekend, most people will generally enjoy giving time to a good cause and the camaraderie that this encourages amongst the team. Work teams who enjoy time outside of their usual tasks together, tend to come together well at work also.
A business rescue is a tough situation to be in at any time, but the fact is that it is nearly impossible to achieve a business turnaround without the buy-in of your team. Taking the time to put strategies in place to boost team morale will pay off for your organization in the end. You don’t need to spend a whole lot of money, but making your team feel valued and keeping them in the loop will help you to see better team performance than a demoralized workforce.