How to Talk About Hard Decisions During a Recession

How to Talk About Hard Decisions During a Recession

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With a potential recession on the horizon, we know you want resources to help your business master the moment. We've put together our Agility & Excellence Resource Center to bring you strategies and solutions with a finger on the pulse of what's ahead.

Navigating the murky waters of economic uncertainty is no small feat — CFOs often walk a tightrope between preserving the company's well-being and making difficult decisions that will impact the organization for years to come. And having conversations with employees about those tough decisions, such as layoffs, can be an arduous task for any corporate leader. Learning how to communicate these sorts of changes effectively, and offering the right helping hand, can ensure your employees feel heard and supported during these trying times.

Be Transparent and Communicative

In times of an impending economic turbulence, communication is essential for maintaining trust and assuaging any panic that may arise. As a business leader, it's necessary to recognize that not everyone understands how lean economic moments may impact your company. Providing a straightforward narrative of where your business stands now and how it has been affected by economic instability over the past year can be an effective way to ensure that all employees are on the same page.

Numbers can be an invaluable tool for telling your story and providing an understanding of how the company is being impacted. By keeping your employees informed and engaged, you can help them feel more secure and strengthen their confidence in the company's ability to weather the storm.

It is also crucial to be open about your company's strategies to address the recession, even if those steps include difficult decisions like reductions in force, hiring or wage freezes or a temporary halts to bonuses. Being transparent and taking accountability for these steps shows your employees that you understand the impact these decisions will have and are committed to finding the best path forward for the company. It's best to convey a sense of sincerity and understanding when communicating these difficult decisions to your team while offering support and reassurance wherever possible.

Acknowledge Mental Health Needs

The impact of a recession on employees can extend beyond just financial concerns. As a business leader, it's essential to recognize that economic uncertainty can affect your employees' mental health. Your employees may face increased workloads due to layoffs or talent gaps, leading to burnout and fatigue. Additionally, rising inflation and interest rates may cause financial strain, making it difficult for your employees to make ends meet. Even if your organization hasn't experienced layoffs, some employees may have family members or spouses who were let go, adding to their stress and anxiety.

While discussing mental health may feel uncomfortable, it's necessary to shed light on the topic and encourage employees to utilize in-house resources, such as employee assistance programs, mental health counseling or financial planning services.

Learn How to Ease the Burden

As the cost of living rises, business leaders must consider how they can support their employees' financial well-being. For example, if your organization has implemented a hiring freeze, this can be incredibly challenging for families and individuals strained by the costs of housing, goods and more. However, this can also be an opportunity to explore creative ways to help your employees and offer other benefits.

Offering additional time off, working with nearby retailers to provide discounts or providing more opportunities for professional development are just a few examples of ways businesses can support their employees during challenging times. By providing these additional benefits, you can help alleviate some of the financial pressure your employees may feel while fostering a more positive workplace culture – one that will encourage employees to remain invested in the company.

Another way to support employees is through flexibility. Providing work-life balance options, such as allowing employees to work remotely, narrowing hybrid schedules or shortening the workday or workweek can be a powerful way to alleviate stress and support your employees' well-being.

In addition, it's important to answer any questions employees may have and offer them the appropriate resources or steps they need to take if your company's decisions negatively impact them. This could include unemployment benefits, pension transfer information, job training or career transition support information. By arming your employees with the knowledge and resources they need, you can help calm their uncertainty.

Next Steps

Navigating a recession and its impact on your business can be daunting. As a business leader, it's crucial to prioritize the well-being of your employees and ensure your business is running smoothly. At CBIZ, our team of professional services experts can help you tackle tough decisions and address the unique challenges of a recession.

From financial services to employee benefits, we can provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the current economic climate while also maintaining a focus on your employees. With CBIZ at your side, you can have the confidence and expertise to make informed decisions that will benefit your business and your team. Contact us today.

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How to Talk About Hard Decisions During a Recession the murky waters of economic uncertainty is no small feat — CFOs often walk a tightrope between preserving the company's well-being and making difficult decisions that will impact the organization for years to come.2023-03-06T18:00:00-05:00

Navigating the murky waters of  economic uncertainty is no small feat — CFOs often walk a tightrope between preserving the company's well-being and making difficult decisions that will impact the organization for years to come.

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