During difficult economic times, how do leaders deal with the challenge of retaining and motivating their best people ?
In an article in the Harvard Business Review online, Kevin Coyne says that many examples of high morale come from situations of great unhappiness and stress. He suggests the following will sustain high morale:
1. Employees see that their team's work is contributing to making others' lives better, rather than just a product or service;
2. Employees need to feel that their ideas are listened to and acted upon to feel part of solving problems;
3. If cost-cutting measures are necessary, do them all at once, rather than attrition by a thousand cuts;
4. Employees need to feel optimistic. Leaders can help people see a brighter future beyond the layoffs and cutbacks.
Certainly, leaders need to communicate quickly and often about company developments, and not leave employees with extensive periods of time to catastrophize their thoughts. And that communication needs to be honest and not manipulative.Leaders need to walk about and make personal contact with employees, and not isolate themselves in their offices and communicate only by email.