Insight article

The recession and its aftermath

Businesses may be feeling optimistic about the impending economic recovery, but need to ask themselves just what effect the recession has had on their employees.  Another black cloud looms.

Employees may well have ridden the storm so far without jumping ship in order to maintain job security and stability.  Yet after the storm has passed, employers will need to take stock of the mood in the workplace.  Trust in leadership has been reported at an all-time low; redundancies and often unexpected change has created low morale, while pay has been frozen, benefits cut and the direction of many organisations unclear.  Change and uncertainty has resulted in inadequate communication within many large organisations which just exacerbates the problem, and investment in training and development and engagement initiatives have been cut.   It doesn’t look pretty.

The implications are scary.  As job opportunities resurface many employees who have clung on will now seek new opportunities and a brighter future elsewhere.  The cost of recruitment and training is huge, so the very resources that have been cut to make savings will be challenged again for all the wrong reasons.  Yet not all organisations are in the same boat (forgive all these maritime puns) … those which have committed to regular and honest communication, made great efforts to keep their staff engaged and informed are far more likely to come out of recession in relatively good shape.  Industries such as civil engineering, where past contracts are about to expire and new contracts on the cards, are about to hit the buffers – and they need to prepare now to tell a good Story to keep people focused, aligned and committed.

For those who may not have spent time and effort keeping their employees on board?  While the proportion of cynics may have increased, and there may be a hard slog ahead, it’s never too late to tell your Story…

Nailia Tasseel