By Claudine Kapel
If your organization had to make some tough decisions during the recent recession, you’re certainly not alone.
And if you’re worried that employee trust and commitment have taken a hit because of those decisions, chances are you’re not alone here either.
Broken trust, however, can be corrosive if left unaddressed. But diligent attention aimed at revitalizing leadership, communications and total rewards can help an organization chart a new course.
These days, most employees understand that businesses must find ways to navigate through a storm. But if changes are particularly profound – or if the implementation of change is poorly managed – then an organization’s reputation as an employer will suffer and the employer brand will lose its capacity to inspire.
If you’re worried about a decline in employee morale, the following steps can help you chart a new course.
1) Take stock of what has fueled employee discontent. What actions did the organization take? How were employees affected? How profound was the sense of loss? How well were the changes communicated? Was there a compelling rationale for the actions taken?
2) Develop an action plan for moving forward. How will the organization distinguish itself as an employer going forward? Will any elements that employees lost be restored? Or is the current state the new normal? What actions can be taken to re-engage employees in the business?
3) Develop a communication strategy to strengthen the lines of communication. Have there been any organizational missteps that need to be acknowledged? What can you tell employees about the organization’s plans for the future? What can you share to build their confidence in the future? Are there ways to get their questions, concerns and ideas so they can vent their pain and get the answers they need?
With the economy showing signs of recovery, there’s a greater focus now on whether organizations are well positioned to attract and retain talent. Some recognize the need to polish their employer brand – or perhaps to resuscitate it.
What’s required is the willingness to take an honest look at the current organizational climate, including what’s really broken. Often, what needs most immediate attention are the lines of communication. Employees want to be heard. And they may have good ideas to share.
It’s never too late, however, for a new beginning, although some introspection is required to frame the new organizational construct. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, while the world may break us, we can indeed become stronger in the broken places.
Claudine Kapel is principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., a Toronto-based human resources and communications consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of compensation and total rewards programs. For more information, visit www.kapelandassociates.com