Dealing with uncertainty

In talking to employees of clients of mine, I've found that many employees are experiencing plenty of stress. As many of your busy seasons are already underway, it's important to have your staff fine tuned and free of unwarranted stress. Having employees mentally prepared to handle the mental and physical rigors of the rental business is important on a number of levels.


First, you care about them as fellow humans and you don't want others to worry needlessly. You know that too much negative stress is not good for anyone. You also know that stressed out employees can't be good for business. And finally, employees with too much work uncertainty are not happy and may seek other employment. So, ask yourself what you can do to alleviate some of their concerns.

All of us are bombarded with print and broadcast reports of how our economy is going downhill. We get a constant barrage from politicians and others who lament how awful the financial institutions are doing, how bad our currency is doing and how the building industry is in a terrible slump. Every gas station we drive by reminds us that prices are going up - and for many, increasing costs are not being offset by increasing income.

Your employees might be wondering if your company is healthy enough to survive in the long run. Remember, employees are not able to view your financials, so they may mistakenly believe that your business is heading south - fast.

Remember to reassure employees. Give them encouragement and positive reinforcement. Employees need to know how they are doing. Also, tell and show them that your company is headed in the right direction. If your company is experiencing some temporary setbacks, give them the good news, too.


Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Offer performance incentives. I find that carefully constructed incentives help keep employees engaged and enthusiastic. Even small performance incentives help. Investing time and money in employees reassures them that your business is proactive and healthy.
  • Don't allow "bad apple" employees to ruin the good ones. Some employees enjoy making others miserable with rumors and misinformation that heightens uncertainty. Get rid of troublemakers.
  • Be aware of decisions that supervisors are making to change policies and procedures.
  • Remember that additional structured training makes a statement that your company is taking the steps to keep your business strong now and into the future.
  • Be sure to find other ways to build the team and to promote harmony. If your employees purposely antagonize each other and can't get along, the negative stress makes business progress unlikely. Find new ways to energize them as a cohesive group.
  • Communicate the career paths for employees. How can they grow with your company? What are the possibilities for advancement? How can they earn more pay and other benefits? But, don't discount the importance of a job title to some employees.

Remember, there are so many uncertainties in all of our lives. Some, if not most, are what make life so much fun. Some of the uncertainties employees face are totally unnecessary, debilitating and should be eradicated. More and better planned communication is the key.