Showing up for your team

As all of those involved in the construction industry knows, at the moment times are tough and the long promised “economic upturn” seems to be just as far away as ever.

As company leaders look to manage the corporate ship through particularly stormy waters, it is important that staff and the workforce aren’t left behind during difficult times.

I recently came across an article that I had saved from Industrial Safety News from late last year which is still very pertinent today, and worth sharing I feel.

Showing up for your team in a recession

Recessions pose challenges for both businesses and employees. They also provide an opportunity for employers to really “show up” for their team, but what does “showing up” for your team through a recession actually look like?

1. Maintaining open communication:
When times are tough, your team will know about it. Your demeanour as an employer or manager is sure to have an impact on your team. Your first instinct might be to protect your staff by keeping business problems to yourself. We think a better approach is being open with your communication through the recession, ensuring the team know what kind of impact it’s having on the business. This is a better approach than letting whispers and rumours dictate what your team is hearing! It also means your team will be able to rally around the business and make efforts to keep things moving in the right direction.

2. Foster a positive environment:
Recessions can put real pressure on families and have a big impact on your team’s home lives. Creating a supportive work atmosphere gives your team a place to “escape” some of the stress they may be experiencing at home. You can create a positive environment when you encourage teamwork, recognise achievements and provide regular feedback.

3. Make sure your team has their creature comforts:
It may not seem like a big deal for you to make sure the kitchen is stocked with your team’s favourite coffee brand but when your team is in a financial squeeze, they may not be able to splurge on their usual creature comforts at home. Doing something as simple as this shows that you care.

4. Provide training and development:
If you can afford it, try to continue training and development for your team. Some sensible spending in this area gives the sense that you value your staff and will continue investing in them, even when times are tough. It also means that your business will reap the benefits of a team that is growing its knowledge and skills.

5. Recognise and reward contributions:
It’s going to be more important than ever to acknowledge hard work and dedication. Celebrate milestones, commend exceptional performance and publicly recognise contributions. When it comes to employee benefits, you may want to consider changing up the perks you’re offering so that they’re geared towards supporting your team with the rising cost of living. Perhaps instead of taking the team out for lunch, you could sign your team up to a delivery service for a box of fresh produce instead.

6. Support mental health and well-being:
Create a safe space for employees to discuss mental well-being. It’s likely that the recession will impact your team in more ways than just financially. An Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) is an awesome resource to provide your team but make sure you remind them to actually use it as some people will hesitate to make use of the service. Promote work-life balance and ensure your team knows that sick days are for mental wellbeing as well as physical health.

Recessions are hard but if you genuinely show up for your team in these ways, you can come out stronger as a business. Your actions over this time could solidify your team’s commitment. After all, when you show loyalty to your staff, you get loyalty in return.

Until next time.


03 2024