The months prior to an election are always full of uncertainty. Throw in the after effects of a global pandemic, heavy flooding, a cost-of-living crisis and a very long wet winter and the end of the year is proving to be tough for businesses and employees alike.
But whatever the results come election day, most people are looking for stability and to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. As more of your team start to feel the effects of negative impacts like increased mortgage rates and food prices, overwhelmingly they are looking for solutions to their current issues, and for the Government to just get on with fixing things.
This year we have seen changes in employment matters across all the industries we deal with:
- Unrealistic pay expectations – Remember when 3% was a good annual pay increase? Not anymore! Compared to CPI, inflation levels and the increase in market rates, 3% just isn’t cutting it for most employees anymore and you may get push back. We understand that last year you may have been generous, but costs are increasing for businesses as well, so this year matching the CPI is a lot tougher.
- Higher levels of absenteeism – It seems the increased level of absenteeism caused by Covid is sticking around. While most businesses anticipated absenteeism returning to normal levels, the increase to 10 days sick leave and the number of bugs around this year haven’t seen this happen. We know this places pressure on businesses and is a constant frustration.
- Increased number of Personal Grievances – Employees appear to be far more aware of their rights, and justified or not, the number of PG’s being raised has risen. Stress and financial pressure play a role in this, as tempers are shorter and patience levels are reduced.
- An increased number of performance issues – When people are stressed their ability to rationalise and think through the consequences of their actions suffer. The focus for many people is on personal and financial issues and this impacts work performance,
People are stressed, patience is thin and it is a tough environment for business.
So, what can you do to navigate successfully through this period and support your team and your leaders?
- Stay close to your people – Even those employees who you think are financially secure may be facing financial or personal pressure right now, so don’t assume anything. Be aware of signs of stress, changes of behaviour and standards of performance. If you can understand the reasons behind this, you can support them through it and build long term engagement and commitment to your business.
- Reconsider your well-being offerings – There are many interventions that can go in your well-being plans, but are they right for what your team need now? Consider financial planning support or having financial support resources available. What about wellness days for when things become a bit much and they need a day to decompress? Do you have overtime you can offer, or can you allow flexibility to help cut childcare costs? Ask your team what would support them most. Then target that with your support.
- Communicate well – Part of your team’s stress could come from their fears on job security and their future in your business. Make sure you lead from the front, acknowledge their concerns, and communicate a strong message around your future. Through your communication you can build a united, supportive, and focused team, which is a workplace plus that everyone could benefit from right now.
- Be strategic with your salary increases – It may be tough to give the increases your team are asking for, so you may have to make some tough choices and try a different approach. Who can’t you afford to lose right now? Who is critical to your business success? Who do you need to retain for the future? Making sure your talent is well rewarded will reduce your business risk and help your business continuity.
- Take care of yourself – Leading a business has been a tough job over the past few years and will continue to be. It is normal to feel the pressure yourself. Caring for your team, making the right decisions and dealing with financial demands all contribute. Be purposeful in doing the things which reduce your stress levels, energise you and give you joy. Keeping yourself well will make you a better leader for your team.
Positive People have over 25 years’ experience helping businesses build high performing teams and navigate through business challenges. Call us now and we can help you make a plan that’s right for your business, and supports your business success.