August 2009

In This Issue


Crisis Recovery: Six Ways to Improve Productivity

The experts say that the recession is over and we are in recovery. After the shock of two years of lay-offs and declining sales, many organizations are operating with skeletal work forces, and survivors wonder if their jobs are safe.

What can managers do to generate excitement and engage employees? 

Enhance Trust and Communication

Employees want to know what changes are coming and how they will be impacted. When people are concerned about losing their jobs, they are not committed to producing. Communicate with your staff. We all know situations where someone was told that they were in no danger of losing their job, only to be handed a pink slip a few days later. As much as possible, be honest. If someone needs to start looking for a job, let them know.  Employees need to believe that managers are telling them the truth.

Build Confidence in the Organization

Employee engagement is often lower for those organizations that experienced layoffs in the past 12 months. A key factor that contributes to lower employee engagement is confidence in the future of their organization. Create a positive work environment by showing optimism about the future of the organization.

Provide Leadership

Leaders should show a sense of purpose. The best leaders take risks and generate enthusiasm. This is not a time to hold back or show fear. Fear paralyzes people. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Not all ideas will work. That’s ok. You don’t need all of them to work, just enough of them to make a difference. The simplest way to preserve your job is to be the best at it. Be strategic, think long term. Include  everyone, as much as possible, not just top management.

Build Team Cohesiveness

Managers have to recommit themselves and their team. If employees feel insecure about their jobs, they may be self protective and try to promote themselves over others. Make this about the team, the department, the division. This is an opportunity to enhance your reputation, your integrity and your future. What kinds of activities will provide more camaraderie?

Take Care of Your Employees.

A result of layoffs is the increased work load for the survivors. Ask them what is important to them, and what they need to stay engaged. Care for employees by managing stress and work/life balance.  Provide meaningful work allow people to do what they do best to make a significant contribution. Solicit ideas. Let people know where they stand. Set tough but realistic goals and support them to reach their goals by providing the right training and work environment. 

Track your best employees and nurture them. Pay attention.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Research by Professor Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK suggests that encouraging staff to think daily about something positive that happened at work the previous day can boost employee happiness by 15%, leading to improved employee engagement and productivity. He also states that expressing gratitude, smiling, and showing kindness contribute to workplace happiness.