Recessions are panicky times for employees in the agriculture sector. The uncertainty of whether or not companies or jobs will survive an economic downturn can cause serious anxiety and it’s often difficult for employees to leave that stress and anxiety at the door when they report to work. People can be testy, impatient or even short-tempered and they tend to be less productive when stressed because their minds are elsewhere.
Here are 10 ways you can help employees relax and focus during a recession.
When employees don’t hear from company leaders, rumors can get out of control. Communicate company health, mission, goals regularly and provide a forum for employees to ask questions that could be causing them anxiety.
If you think layoffs are on the horizon, be honest about it. Pretending everything is fine and then letting people go will erode trust with remaining employees.
Plan “Right–Sizing” Accordingly
One round of layoffs or furloughs can be bad enough. But if you have to keep coming back to lay people off, it will destroy morale. Plan strategically so that you only have to take action one time.
Hire Back Laid–Off Workers
If you really want to wreck trust, hire new people after laying off long-time workers. People are often told layoffs are temporary and can result in callbacks. Don’t say those things if they aren’t true. And if they are true, hire back former employees before bringing in new people.
Cutting benefits might look like a great way to reduce costs, but the human costs of cutting benefits are real. Stress levels only increase when valuable benefits like health insurance or sick pay are cut back.
Offer Early Retirements
Consider offering early retirement packages to older employees. The stress of a recession can be hard on them and many may jump at the chance to get out of the rat race, allowing their coworkers to feel more secure.
Host Informational Sessions
Offer lunch-and-learn sessions for employees on topics like budgeting during a recession, what to do about their 401(k), or even how to talk to their kids about what’s happening. Knowledge is power and sessions like these show you understand what employees are going through.
Shorten The Work Week
Offer employees the opportunity to work four 10-hour shifts to give them more time to de-stress with family on weekends.
Reward With Gift Cards
During a recession, people stress about the basics like food and gasoline, and very few people go out for an evening. Reward employees with gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and movie theaters.
Offer an Employee Assistance Program
Gather resources that employees can use if they need help managing stress or covering their bills if a spouse is laid off or if they themselves are laid off.