As we all know, we are currently operating in unprecedented and uncertain times. Business owners are trying to manage their cash flow forecast with no knowledge of when we will be officially outside the crisis period and business can get back to normal or whatever the new normal will look like. In the UAE, we are about to head into notoriously slower business periods, the impact of this year’s Holy month of Ramadan and summer period is unknown, however what is clear is that companies are having to take drastic decisions today with their most expensive resource, its employees, in order to survive.
Tough and painful decisions are being made every day. We are seeing employees being sent home on unpaid leave, asked to reduce their hours or retain their full-time hours but take a temporary salary cut. Drastic decisions that help immediately with cash flow management but obviously have an adverse effect on employee’s commitment and mindset.
So how do you keep your employees committed to the company and keep them effective, ready to hit the ground running once business picks up again? Our advice is to communicate consistently, honestly and openly. This crisis is not just affecting your company, your industry or this country, this is a worldwide pandemic, affecting just about every industry in every country. Your employees will no doubt be very conscious of this and will want to know what you are doing in order give them a sense of relief that they know you are doing something about it.
By being open and honest in what you tell them, they can see that you are taking business decisions to help save the company so that they have a job when the crisis is over, its likely to be a relief to them that you are taking these decisions, regardless of how they affect them adversely, just seeing you take action will be seen as a positive.
Communication should be in person ideally or by holding a virtual meeting. Decisions to reduce salaries should be across the board to show fairness in your decision making. Try and be clear that this is a temporary move, and that you will be monitoring the situation consistently.
If reducing salary, this is likely due to your needing the team working hard to keep the business moving, securing deals that can convert once businesses are ready to start spending. If having to take the decision to send them away on unpaid leave, put into place a method of communicating weekly, keeping track of each team member. Set up a WhatsApp group, communicate consistently on this and answering any questions they ask.
It is at times like this that your company values come into action. If you have installed a company culture where the team are all involved in the company so that they feel a sense of comradery, stressful situation, such as this, will only strengthen the team.
- We are about to head into slower business periods.
- The impact of this year’s Holy month of Ramadan and summer period is unknown.
- What is clear is that companies are having to take drastic decisions with their most expensive resources.
- Communication should be in person ideally or by holding a virtual meeting.
By Mike Hoff, CEO, MHC Consulting and Regional Group Manager of The Alpha Group.