Just because your employees have a job doesn’t mean that they are committed to they’re job or the company. I have heard managers say that their employees should be happy their have a job in these tough times. I don’t think those employees would disagree. With unemployment in the double digits and the prospect of landing a new job once you have been laid off taking on average 6 months to find, who could argue that a person is happy to be employed. Yet, that does not mean that these employees are committed.
Think of the damage being done by employees that are hunkered down, holding on to their jobs and merely going through the actions of being productive. I love the phrase, ” there is never a recession when it comes to leadership”. So unless you are an outstanding leader and motivating your employees, you may be faced with fearful employees motivated only by keeping their jobs!
So what can you do? First and foremost, communicate. Let the employees know what is happening with the company and be honest. Tell them what the vision is and let them be a part of making it happen. Let them know their value and importance in the vision and how their contributions will make an impact. Then thank them for their work. Recognize them for what they do and above all, let them have a voice in problem solving. The employee on the front lines has a much better idea of what customers want, what employees need to do their job and what the “buzz” is in the office.
You can lead a horse to water, but getting them to drink the Kool Aid is another thing. Be a leader that people will follow, not because of your title, but because you respect your employees and have passion, commitment and focus to lead them to the next level.