These days, employees have a lot to worry about. That gives HR and management a new challenge: keeping all those outside distractions from affecting people’s work.
Obviously, you can’t change the situation. But what can you do?
You can help front-line managers keep the situation under control. Their behavior will have the biggest impact on whether so-called “recession fatigue” takes hold of the workplace.
The first thing to do is make sure they understand recession fatigue is contagious, says executive coach Ellen Lubin-Sherman. Once one employee starts worrying aloud, complaining or gossiping about the company’s future, everyone’s productivity can go out the window.
Managers need to head off problems at the pass. Here’s what Lubin-Sherman recommends:
- Pay attention — Managers need to be on the lookout for employees acting unusually — coming in late, calling in sick often, turning in work late, etc. If anything like that starts happening, it might be time for the manager to have a face-to-face chat to see what the problem is.
- Keep the door open — Many managers say they have an open door policy — but now’s the time to stick to it and remind employees.
- Be realistic — Employees can see right through false optimism during difficult times. If layoffs, pay cuts or hiring freezes are likely, managers need to discuss the possibility openly and honestly. They just need to make sure they stress that company will do anything it can to protect people’s jobs.
- Don’t play therapist — In tough times, managers do need to handle some emotional topics with employees, but that doesn’t mean its their place to “diagnose” employee’s problems. Just reassuring people about the company’s future is sufficient.