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4 Tips for Communicating with Your People in Difficult Times

During the COVID-19 pandemic the lines between work and home were blurred for most of us. We talked to our clients about focusing on wellbeing, flexible working, and the new normal during the pandemic. Now that we’re in a recession we’re talking to our clients about maintaining trust during uncertain times. Hopefully there won’t need to be too many difficult conversations to be had with your teams regarding recession and changes to your business but if you do have to, consider the following.

Transparency is key

Trust is a direct contributor to employee loyalty and loyalty is a direct contributor to productivity, quality of products or services, and financial performance of business. Make sure that you are transparent with your team. If things aren’t going perfectly, let them know there might be a bumpy road ahead. During the last recession one of the top impacts to employee loyalty was trust and whether they felt their manager was being open and honest.  

No news is not good news

Communication. A simple word but a big commitment. As business leaders communication is essential to maintaining employee trust during tough times. Don't forget your context versus others, information you’re living and breathing will be new to your team. When you’re sick of saying something it will finally be starting to sink in.  

Stay straightforward

Internal messages will be relayed externally so ensure that you are clear and concise, be planned with key points to cover and don’t deviate from these. Try and think about what you want your team to walk away thinking, feeling, and knowing in challenging communications.  

Delivery method

These days with so many different ways to connect it’s easy to send an email or a Slack message, the challenge with this is that tone is so open to interpretation. Manage the delivery of potentially sensitive information in person or over video.  

Overcoming the present challenges may be your focus right now, but be careful not to burn your chances of future growth in the process. How you treat your people during the tough times is a clear indicator to the market about how you view them. This impacts everything from future work to future hires. So be honest with yourself, if this is an area of growth for you as a leader, create some space to up skill through guides like this one or get some focused advice and coaching. 

Sprout helps leaders grow and businesses succeed. If you need to level up your leadership to meet the challenges of today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, Angela Waddell is here to help. If you are navigating major changes in your business and need to talk about risks and options, reach out to Kaylene Froggatt our employment relations specialist.

Written by Angela Waddell
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