Keeping a team’s performance levels high during uncertain times
If a company faces insolvency or other financial problems, the wheels can come off very quickly. Employees can become de-motivated by the uncertainty and this often leads to them failing to do their job properly at a time when 100% commitment is required from every staff member. Keeping teams motivated and successful during a period of uncertainty can mean the difference between a complete business turnaround, and liquidation.
The recession has hit the UK hard, and recent data from the TUC suggests that real wages have fallen by over 4.5% between 2007 and 2011. Naturally, the cost of living has risen over this time, meaning that more people are struggling to make ends meet. In many workplaces, this has led to an increase in employee stress levels. The crisis has, of course, also seen a rise in the number of businesses that are struggling financially. When these factors are combined, keeping a team at the top of their game can be tricky, and require very strong leadership skills.
Many things can impact on high performing teams during an economically weak period. One of the most damaging is the need to make redundancies. Often, even the distant threat of job cuts can be enough to unsettle individuals within an organisation, and cause a sudden drop in their productivity levels. This can be exacerbated if actual cuts are made, as the remaining employees often feel guilty that they were spared, or saddened that their friends and colleagues have been sacrificed. Sustaining high levels of team spirit at these times is essential to protect a company’s productivity and profit levels.
Fortunately, maintaining high performing teams, at times when significant changes are taking place, is a skill that can be learned. Management training programmes are available that can impart the wisdom and experience required to ensure business leaders are able to guide their company and employees through tough times and out the other side. Many areas are focused on throughout these courses, but one of the most important is honesty and transparency. The individuals involved need to be respected, and they have a right to know what is likely to happen to the business in the future.
Keeping employees on-side during a difficult period gives the company the best chance of survival. Strong and effective leadership at this stage is the best way to ensure a team remains motivated and high performing.