Overcome Tough Staff Management Issues Caused by Troubled Economy

TULSA, Okla. – PSA – Small business owners face many tough problems in a troubled economy. One of the most difficult challenges can be managing a staff through a recession. Whether it’s a matter of keeping anxious employees focused on their work or making hard decisions about layoffs, company owners often find themselves wondering what the best steps may be. The Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants says the following five tips should be can help.

Be realistic.
If the business is experiencing financial troubles, the news will probably have already spread through the company grapevine, so don’t try to pretend everything is rosy. Instead, be upbeat and realistic in your dealings with employees. You might acknowledge that the company has lost a big client, for example, but point out other steps the company is taking to adapt to changing times and find new opportunities. This will reassure employees that leadership is dealing with the problems and make it easier for them to concentrate on their jobs rather than worry about the business’s survival.

Focus on opportunities 
Employees are well aware of all the problems that a downturn can bring. That’s why it’s a good idea to remind your employees that a recession also provides many potential opportunities. Employees who manage vendor relationships may find it easier to cut better deals on contracts, as well. Consider brainstorming with your staff to identify all the opportunities open to your company and develop ideas on how to make the most of them. 

Find the upside 
If overtime and long hours are a normal part of doing business at your company, then a slow economy can provide some needed downtime for hard-working staff members. Instead of allowing employees to become anxious about the downturn, encourage top people to take the vacation time that they have accumulated or to use slow periods to catch up on worthwhile projects that often get pushed to the back burner in busier times. Take a consequence of the bad economy and find a way to turn it into a benefit for the company and its employees.

Consider Alternatives for Layoffs 
Cutting back on staff when business is slow can be a wrenching decision for company owners, especially when you know employees will have a rough time finding new jobs. Dropping down to a smaller workforce may also leave you at a disadvantage when the economy does turn around. It’s a good idea to examine all your alternate choices. Salary, hiring and benefits freezes, for example, can prevent further increases in expenses. Salary cutbacks can make it possible to hold on to the same number of people for a smaller outlay, as do furloughs, in which employees are given days off without pay during slow periods. By taking these steps, you can maintain the same experienced workforce and help keep your staff off the unemployment line.

Consult Your CPA
CPAs who specialize in business start-ups and development have extensive experience in working with companies in good times and bad. Consult one on problems facing your company during these uncertain times.

With more than 6,600 members in public practice, industry, government and education, the OSCPA is Oklahoma’s only statewide professional association of CPAs. Since 1918, the organization has continued to provide professional education, conduct quality reviews and promote and maintain high standards of integrity and competence within the accounting profession.

Visit www.KnowWhatCounts.org for more business advice and a free CPA referral and free consultation.

Updated 03-31-2010

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