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When times get tough, invest in your team

  • Written by Vincent Nair CEO of SMARTECH Business Systems

In times of economic uncertainty, it’s common for businesses to cut costs in order to weather the storm. However, as the threat of a post-COVID recession looms overhead and companies batten down the hatches in preparation, one area that businesses cannot afford to divest from is their own employees.

With all eyes on maximising profits, it’s all too easy for leaders to mistake investing in organisational culture as an unnecessary cost. In reality, maintaining a workplace culture that values and supports employees through hard times can mean the difference between sinking or swimming during a recession.

Creating a committed and loyal team

All effective leaders know that their employees are their most valuable asset – and this is especially true when times get tough. From a financial perspective, it’s far more economically viable to invest in a knowledgeable and productive team than it is to manage a high rate of staff turnover. Research has indicated that the cost of replacing an employee can be as much as 33% of their annual salary, while taking measures to invest and care for your team can be done for a fraction of the cost.

When employees feel valued, supported, and engaged, they are more likely to stay with your company. I’ve seen the power of this approach first-hand at SMARTECH, where we’ve made a conscious effort to support the financial and personal well-being of our employees as the cost of living rises, ensuring they feel happy to continue investing their skills and expertise with us.

Through simple measures such as offering grocery store vouchers, fuel allowances, and trips to dedicated and hard-working employees, we’ve created a culture that thrives on employee satisfaction and loyalty. By investing in your team, you can build a strong sense of loyalty and commitment, even during difficult times.

Don’t undervalue employee trust and respect

In times of global economic crisis, your business isn’t the only one suffering – your employees are, too. Creating a workplace where employees feel their own economic fears are acknowledged and respected is essential to creating a healthy culture that continues to thrive amidst uncertainty.

Internal communication is an essential part of building this trust and respect amongst your team. By creating a culture of open and honest communication, you can foster an environment where employees feel valued and supported.

Regular employee well-being checks, transparent communication about the position of the business, and the setting of realistic expectations for the future are all relatively simple ways to build respect in your workplace.

During a recession, when uncertainty and stress can lead to tension in the workplace, clear and effective communication can be especially important for maintaining a positive company culture.

The power of highly engaged employees

A positive company culture can also lead to better productivity and commitment from your team. When employees feel happy and fulfilled at work, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, with research showing that highly engaged employees can lead to a 202% increase in performance.

It’s never more important for a business to have productive, committed employees than during economic uncertainty. Not only does higher productivity lower the overall cost of running your business but it can make room for the changing priorities that tough times can inevitably bring. For example, if you lose an employee, a highly productive and committed team would be better equipped to take on the additional workload and save you the expense of rehiring. By investing in your team's well-being and growth, you can create a work environment that supports their success and encourages them to perform at their best.

At the end of the day, people are your most valuable asset. When you invest in your team, you are investing in the future success of your business. By creating a culture that supports employees through hard times and gives them what they need both at work and outside of work, you can build a team that is dedicated and committed to your company's success.

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