A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.
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Total Business Turnaround
Part 07 | Staff Team
Negativity can spread quickly among any group of employees; and although some people will always find fault with something and complain and spread rumours, it’s wise to take note of the situation and work to keep your business environment, systems, and staff development programs organised and always improving.
You must ensure that your communication is timely and focused and that your employees have a way to communicate their concerns to you. More than that, they have to know that when they do step forward, they are taken seriously and that action is taken if appropriate. Without your employees, you have no business, so treat them right!
Leadership and Motivation
Leadership is about far more than simply being in charge. That is simply being a boss and that won't go very far if you are trying to restructure your business. Leadership is about showing the way and facilitating everyone's journey so that everyone in the company makes it to the same end point at the same time. It means being true to the big picture vision while keeping an eye on the details and giving your people the tools they need to get you there. It means delegating responsibilities and trusting the people you select to do their jobs.
A leader's mood and behaviour impact on how group members think and act, a fact that is directly tied-in to how effectively the group works. Leaders issue verbal and written instructions, yes, but they also transmit their goals, intentions, and attitudes through their emotional expressions, and that cannot be ignored. The group members respond to this cognitively and behaviourally, and that response is reflected in the way the group works.
A and B Type Employees
You are in business to earn profits and to grow your business. To be on this journey, you need the right kind of employees, but how do you know who and what you really have? You can divide your employees up into four different types: A,B,C, and D. The difference between them comes down to talent, reliability, and performance. A-Type employees are talented and they perform to expectations, at the very least.
Fakers make all the right noises and appear to be taking all the right actions, but their motives and methods are questionable, to say the least. B-Type employees deliver satisfactory performance, even though they lack in ability. All it really takes is a little investment in their development to turn them into A-Types.
C and D Type Employees
If the A- and B-Type employees are at the top of the heap, the C- and D-Type employees are at the bottom and they each present challenges of their own. C-Type employees are unsatisfactory in their work performance, failing to deliver the results expected of them. They are also lacking in ability, work knowledge, skills and values.
D-Type employees are talented, but they are not contributing or delivering and you need to find out why since many D-Type employees have left one Company to join another only to become A-Types. If you can answer the question you can help them evolve into A-Type employees that can be of immense value to your business.
You should be aware of the many likely concerns that your employees will have once they become aware that the business is struggling financially. Threats to their integrity, their job, their pay-check and more all contribute to the worries of your employees. You need to communicate with your people and reassure them in order to keep these concerns in check.
Employee Tolerance for Problems
Some employees have a high tolerance for problems – mainly because they are older and more experience, but the majority will not. Therefore, it’s advisable to be mindful of this when communicating change within your organisation. The important thing to remember throughout this process is that regardless of how hard it is for you, your employees are feeling it as well.
Their career paths have been very different – no doubt focused on specific tasks and responsibilities – so they are not exposed to the emotional ups and downs associated with a struggling business and the impact that it will have on them.
Dealing with Rumours
In times of intense difficulty, the last thing you want to deal with is an issue like rumours within your organisation. Unfortunately, when business is difficult it’s very likely that rumours will abound, especially if you and your management team are tied up with sorting out the problems and trying to get the business on track.
It’s best to try and spend as little time as possible determining what they are so you can spend your time putting them to rest by communicating regularly with your management and employees so they never grow bigger than murmurs that are quickly and quietly dispelled.
Regular and informative, yet reassuring communication should serve to eliminate rumours. Generally D- and some C-Type employees will propagate rumours with others following suit soon after, depending on seniority.
Communication with Your Employees
You need to communicate with your management team, your IP, the bank, your sales finance company, your solicitors and, just as importantly, with your staff. Depending on the size of your business, you could do it one-on-one, as a team or a department, or to the entire organisation.
Just remember if you choose to speak with individuals or teams, that as soon as the first few people have left the meeting, everyone else is up to speed on what they think is going on as opposed to what’s actually going on, so depending on what you want to say, it may be better to communicate to the team or company as a whole.
TUPE in Practice
The purpose of TUPE is to protect employees if the business in which they are employed changes hands. Unless employees have been part of a larger corporation that frequently changes hands they are likely to be unaware of TUPE and therefore seek some assurances with respect to working for the new company and some guarantees that any money owed to them from the old company is paid to them.
Once you’ve completed the purchase, you must send a letter letting all employees know the obligations and responsibilities to them under law have now been undertaken by the new company. To put their mind at rest, you can let staff know before completing the purchase that this letter is going to be issued once the company purchase has gone through.