Published On: Fri, Nov 2nd, 2018

Effectively Managing Employees and Morale During Difficult Times

Every business will need to go through a period of change during economic downturn. This will be in differing degrees from company to company, with some corporations imposing large upheavals upon staff, such as workforce cutbacks, salary reviews, relocation and the like. Other companies, dependent upon how they were managed before economic instability began to materialise, may only experience minor change.

Effectively Managing Employees and Morale During Difficult Times

The Importance of Communication in Change Management

Much has been documented with regards to change management, but the prevailing factor, which it is urged upon managers to implement, is that of effective and thorough communication. Rumours and hearsay can be incredibly damaging to morale, with uncertainty through lack of communication causing stress for the workforce and often resulting in the exaggeration of the initial rumour.

Managers are, therefore, advised strongly to communicate effectively and regularly with their workforce, to quash rumours and ensure that all staff are brought in line with the latest company news and occurrences. This is stressed in the majority of management guides found on the Internet and bookshelves; Team Technology, publishers of online articles and resources, state in an article entitled “Change Management” that “for large groups, produce a communication strategy that ensures information is disseminated efficiently and comprehensively to everyone (don’t let the grapevine take over).”

The Effect of Change on Employees

Change affects different people in different ways. Each person has their own needs that have to be met, whether they are financial or emotional, and change can often have a profound effect on these. Frequently, change involves an element of loss, and this sends most people through what management analysts have termed the ‘Change Curve.’ This is a number of emotions that are felt by those affected by change, and it is the responsibility of the management to handle the fears and resistance that inevitably arises, as well as expectations that need to be managed realistically.

The ‘Change Curve’ displays seven stages that employees may experience during times of upheaval:

Shock
Anger
Denial
Blame
Fear
Understanding
Acceptance

These seven stages are felt by most who are faced with change and loss. Similar to the five stages of grief, they include anger, denial and finally acceptance. How an individual travels along this curve is dictated by their own unique personalities; one person may understand the reasons for change much sooner than another and thus reach the ‘Acceptance’ stage quickly with minimal negative effect on performance.

Some may find the loss so difficult to cope with that they never progress past the ‘Fear’ stage, and their performance continues to drop. Good management ensures that each employee is given the help and support that they require to ensure that they accept change as soon as possible so performance does not wane.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at knowledgeherald@gmail.com

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