Is your company positioned to move forward when the economy is in recovery? Or will you be in the back of the pack trying to catch your breath? It may seem like an unusual time to be asking these questions, given the current economic climate. But these are exactly the questions you should be asking yourself so you aren't sitting on the sidelines watching your competitors fly by.
The past year and a half has been difficult for most organizations. Companies have been forced to make drastic cuts to shield themselves from the impact of this recession. The landscape of the workplace, as we've known it, has changed forever.
Here are five things you should be doing now to get your organization in shape for the recovery:
Survey the premises for damage
The first step in preparing for the recovery is to survey for damage. Look at the areas that have been impacted by this economic storm and ask the following questions:
- What should we be doing right now to retain our talent?
- What jobs will we need to fill the moment we see signs of recovery?
- How long will it take to fill these positions?
- What needs to be done to update our recruitment strategy?
- How will we assimilate all these new hires into the organization?
- Does our orientation/onboarding program need a facelift?
- Do our current managers have the necessary skills to propel the organization forward in a recovery?
- What type of executive development should we be offering the leaders of our organization?
- What do our employees really think about working for our organization?
- When we move forward, will any of our employees be following us?
- What can be done to rebuild trust in the organization?
It's never easy to take a hard look at the long road ahead. But that is exactly what must be done to prepare for the journey forward.
Create a plan with measurements
Have you ever noticed that which gets measured gets done? All the lists in the world won't move you one step closer to achieving your objectives unless you have an action plan that includes measurements.
Gather your team and prioritize what needs to be done. Include measurements that will clearly indicate when your objectives have been met. If you have cut your staff down to the bones, connect with outside experts who have experience in rebuilding organizations. Do so now, before they sign on the dotted line with your competitors.
Create a new vision
What is the point of surviving this recession if you've learned nothing from going through this? Reflect on what has changed, both inside your organization and within your marketplace, and create a new vision based on what is now on the horizon. Communicate this vision and work towards aligning your employees, so everyone is moving in the same direction.
Trust has been replaced with fear and anxiety in many organizations. Trust can be rebuilt, but it will take time. That's why it is so important to begin rebuilding trust today. Start by opening up dialogue. Take responsibility for past mistakes and ask team members for their support in moving forward. Be sure your words and your actions are one and the same.
Loosen the purse strings
This is the ideal time to invest in projects that you have put on the back burner. For example, suppose you terminated a number of your mid-level managers in order to save costs. You know that you will need to promote people into those roles fairly soon. This is the perfect time to launch a management training program for your high potentials. This will ensure that you have a team in place that can manage the inflow of business that will occur during the recovery. This will also help you hold onto star players who will otherwise leave as soon as opportunity knocks on their door.
The recession crept up on us and we were unprepared. The recovery will be slow, but it will happen. This time there will be no excuse for being unprepared.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. Roberta publishes a monthly newsletter "HR Matters" which is jammed with resources, articles and tips to help companies navigate through sticky and complicated HR workforce issues. Click here to read her new blog on Generation Integration. She can be reached at 413-582-1840 or Roberta@yourhrexperts.com.