What is the Likely Recovery Path?
If the Covid-19 Induced Recession is on the way
Last week’s brutal drawdown in global financial markets might seem to indicate that the world economy is on a path to recession. Does the market drawdown truly signal a recession, how bad the recession would be, etc? We do not know the answers yet, but there is one thing we know is that we all need to have a Recovery Path. Most of the companies started to initiate some actions, and mostly they are employing several cost-cutting measures, such as:
- Pay cuts and reduced bonus pay-outs
- Deferred pay increase or no increase this year
- Asking employees to take unpaid leaves
- Freeze on hire for indefinite period
- Terminate consultancy spend and temp consultant contracts immediately
- And 70% organisation plan to invest more in technology
Above initiatives and some others would probably drive employees into the “fear of recession” and boost the ‘feeling of insecurity’, and obviously none of them would help the organizations to succeed in the current environment. Here are some of the key suggestions we would like to share.
Walk the talk: We all have heard that some of the CEOs have taken pay cuts. Now this is a fantastic first step, one that makes them a normal human as any other employees. Organisations taking any of the above steps for their employees have to make their employees feel that CEOs and Presidents or top management is part of them and equally contributes to manage the difficult time. Perhaps I would recommend higher % cuts at the top down compare to lower levels considering the contribution in terms of real value would be more. Also the fact of life is that beyond a reasonable career level, we all have secured our future for such difficult times but it is not the case for the front line staff which is earning and spending on month-to-month basis.
Connect with your employees: If you are a CEO or a management team member who was continuously communicating company’s success, challenges, future, etc. regularly, do it more. If not, start doing it more often than ever. It is the perfect time to build that real connection between organisation, it’s leaders and employees, that will last forever in maneuvering through such difficult times. Share the past success, current challenges and future perspective TRANSPARENTLY and more importantly ask them how they can contribute to ensure that they don’t loose the momentum of life and keep their motivation high. Give them courage, support, environment and channels to continue performing at their best in whatever way they can and use these channels yourself e.g. using technology to connect. Create whats app or any other chatting platform group led by the CEO herself/himself and keep the nerve of the organisation all the times. Keep sharing and reflecting your perspective, may be on daily basis. If as a CEO or top leaders, you will have to do a half an hour call every week with all your employees, do so. Ultimately you are saving time to go and come back from office, use it wisely.
Share the pain, to have collective gain: There are tons of ideas floating around to manage the costs – read them, understand them, see what is useful and apply them without wasting any time. One of the best is to replace the pain of “cutting the headcount” with “Sharing the pain together”. While things were normal, we were always looking forward to creating more and more ideas to motivate our employees. Today the only motivation employees need is that their job is safe. Built trust by giving this motivation to them while you can do a lot of other things to save costs.
More importantly, split yours cost saving ideas into two parts, one for immediate actions and others as permanent fixes. It is extremely important that we learn our lessons from this difficult time and try to be conservative in spending now and in future. Here is my take on them, which includes are collection of various ideas already ..
There are tons of intelligent minds out there which can further add to this list and not necessary all organisations have to take all the steps collectively but think aloud, engage wider audience and start taking actions on now is the key here.
In nutshell, this is not an easy time, for any country, any industry. Plan for the best and prepare for the worst. It is our collectively efforts with just few intelligent moves, very quickly, that can convert this dim and sluggish time to a progressive and smart future for all of us.
Sachin Bajaj, Founder & Managing Partner Compport