How to Maintain Employee Morale During an Economic Downturn

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee turnover in 2020 stood at 57.3%. This statistic was primarily due to the havoc the pandemic brought on. Although things are beginning to pick up and businesses have reopened, employee morale generally remains low.

There’s a significant amount of uncertainty contributing to low motivation in the workplace and for employees working remotely. As a business leader or owner, what can you do to restore confidence among your staff during an economic downturn? Here are a few tips worth considering. 

1. Show recognition and reward where necessary

employee morale

Naturally, people love to be recognized and appreciated for the things they do. Moreover, even in uncertain times, such as what was brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic, people still need positivity to keep hope alive. It’s equally essential for your employees who have had to keep working despite the gloomy economic outlook.

Even as money is hard to come by during the economic downturn, what can you do to your workers happy? As a leader, it would help if you exhibited mindful leadership traits that indicate your sense of awareness, such as rewarding and encouraging your staff.

It would be best to center your activities around renewing and sustaining your employees’ morale towards work. Unfortunately, some leaders tend to lose the ability to engage staff properly when there’s a financial crisis. Fortunately, you can face this squarely with a reward and recognition scheme that ignites healthy workplace competition. There are many budget-friendly options you can choose from, including practical gifts for employees that are economical but have sentimental value.

2. Communicate effectively and often

It’s essential to avoid ambiguity when managing low employee morale in an economic downturn. The reason you should communicate is to ensure that your staff gets a full grasp of what you’re putting across. Remember that your team is already dealing with mental and emotional situations that are likely affecting their output.

Furthermore, as you share financial issues with your staff, do so honestly without hiding the facts from them. It’s better to paint a realistic picture than leave your employees to find out the poor state of finances later. It’s no secret that businesses go through periodic financial cycles.

Once you get the information through, use the moment to help them understand that the company will bounce back. Doing this will help remind your staff that you’re open with them and reduce the likelihood of them jumping ship if they find out that their company hid the actual figures from them.

Additionally, you’ll maintain credibility as a business leader and earn their trust, confidence, and a renewed commitment to put all hands on deck. 

3. Have an open-door policy

When your business experiences a situation like this, avoid staying away from your employees. It may be challenging to face your staff when things look gloomy for your business. However, as a business leader, you’re the fulcrum of the company, which means you should spearhead the motivation agenda. It may not be easy to do because of the burden you already feel, but it will be worth all the effort you put in.

In doing so, implement an open-door policy where your employees can walk up to you to discuss concerns about the company. When you invest time in your employees, you avoid creating the misconception that all you care about is their input. Moreover, availing yourself to your employees allows you to establish interpersonal relationships built on loyalty and trust.

4. Encourage learning and development

When you make a deliberate effort to invest in your employees’ learning and development during an economic downturn, they get the hint of a future within the establishment. Doing this requires a delicate balance as you think up ways and means to cut costs for the business to survive. Fortunately, there are helpful L&D programs available online which cost less or nothing at all without compromising on quality. Some examples are LinkedIn Learning, microlearning platforms such as TalentCards, and YouTube Learning.

Additionally, there are cost-cutting ways you can get your staff to take up L&D programs. You can leverage your internal resources by using in-house highly trained staff to train the others. You can also use virtual gamification for L&D Training, which costs less and boosts participation. Exchanging training resources with companies you have good relationships with is another effective way to get your staff on board.

Trying times are an excellent opportunity to test your company’s resilience and creativity. The above-listed tips will guide you in keeping your employees motivated even during difficult economic times. 

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