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 Top Tips for Managing Change in a Downturn | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Top Tips for Managing Change in a Downturn

There is no doubt that nearly everyone is taking a hit from the global financial crisis.  Companies are reducing costs and headcounts at varying degrees and job hunters are becoming increasingly desperate for work.  But every cloud has a silver lining, as they say, and this downturn is no exception.  As China’s premier Wen Jiabao mentioned earlier this month, a wealth of opportunities will be created for those who stress innovation and adapt to the drastic changes in world economic conditions.

For employers, difficult times are an ideal opportunity to create greater loyalty between your company and your staff.  For employees, on the other hand, an economic downturn can give you an opportunity to shine in your current role, develop your existing skills and prove your value to your company. 

Managing this change, however, can be a challenge for even the most seasoned of managers particularly in a time when many people, especially younger employees, have no concept of how to manage change as more difficult economic times set in.

1. Communicate with your staff

One of the most common mistakes many managers make with their staff during difficult times is slowing or stopping the flow of communication.  It’s true that no one wants to be told the ‘bad news’, but from your employees’ perspective bad news may be better than uncertainty or office gossip.  Ensuring your employees are aware of changes that may affect them will foster trust between you and your staff.

2. Look after your ‘good eggs’

Even in a tough economy, high-potential employees will always have other opportunities.  It is easy to lose sight of the needs of your valuable employees as you focus your time and energy on staff who are losing their jobs.  Remember that your people are everything and good people are even more essential in difficult times as the market becomes more competitive.  Use these times as an opportunity to allow the high-potential employees in your company to contribute new ideas and improve their skills.

3. Make your workplace fun

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of negativity out there right now.  Unfortunately, this negativity breeds more negativity.  It is essential that in difficult times you continue to make your workplace an engaging place to work.  Organise some staff events, invest in a team-building activity, or talk to your staff to find out cost-effective ways to keep your office dynamic and interesting. Creating a positive atmosphere in the office is essential in maintaining productivity and staff retention.

4. Encourage ideas and input

Your employees will have an insight into how your company operates.  Encourage them to contribute ideas in order to cut costs, improve productivity or increase market competitiveness.  Their ideas may surprise you.

5. Reward your performers

Don’t stop rewarding the employees who continue to perform well in difficult times- they need this reinforcement to stay motivated.  Recognition does not necessarily mean cash bonuses or formal programmes.  Managers can use simple recognition techniques to reinforce good behaviour.

6. Help your staff improve their skills

It is expected that many people will see difficult economic conditions as a good opportunity to undertake further study and improve their skills.  Talk to your employees and give them the opportunity to undertake part-time study if conditions permit.

<a href=”http://www.yaxley.cn” rel=”nofollow”>James Hudson is a bilingual corporate trainer at <a href=”http://www.yaxley.cn” rel=”nofollow”>Yaxley Education in Beijing. For more information on <a href=”http://www.yaxley.cn” rel=”nofollow”>Yaxley Education and our range of programmes, visit http://www.yaxley.cn
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