Overcoming Mistakes Made During the Recession
By Andy Denka
April 2010 (SmartPros) The recession has put managers to the test in ways they likely had not experienced in the past. Often, choices were made to reduce costs that weren't planned out as strategically as they would have been in other times, and companies already are beginning to regret some decisions that were made too quickly.
Does that make these supervisors bad managers? No. Hindsight is 20-20. But there are lessons that can be learned from these missteps now that an economic recovery may be on the horizon.
Here are a few of the most common staffing mistakes made, along with suggestions for getting your team back on track:
Mistake #1: Cutting personnel levels too deeply
Mistake #2: Overlooking opportunities to strengthen core staff
By making strategic additions, employers can upgrade the skill set and expertise of their teams. This improved knowledge can be particularly valuable as you plan for future expansion and needs. For instance, you might hire an accounting manager proficient with eXtensible Business Reporting Language who can guide your department through the learning process.
Mistake #3: Feeling employees are just lucky to have jobs
Even if budgets remain tight, there are steps you can take to create a more positive work environment. Providing flexible scheduling options or access to a mentoring program, for example, cost very little if implemented wisely. Also talk to your employees to find out what improvements they would like to see in the workplace. If you aren’t able to fund a suggested idea right now, explain the situation and brainstorm alternatives. By showing a sincere interest in what employees have to say and following through on their recommendations when possible, you can help reconnect with your staff.
Also meet individually with personnel to discuss their professional goals. What would they like to be doing at your company two years from now? Are they being given the necessary tools and guidance to achieve those objectives? Outline the steps that will be required for them to advance professionally. The more you can give people a vision of a future at your firm, the less likely they are to want to leave.
You may not be able to remedy these mistakes overnight. For instance, it may take time to rebuild employee satisfaction. With the right steps in your staffing strategy, however, you can improve the efficiency and morale of your team, which can pay off particularly as the economy gains momentum and business plans shift.
For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series, at www.rhi.com/podcasts.
ABOUT ANDY DENKA