Outside of cash, the most important aspect of your business is your people–your employees.
Yesterday, I wrote about how strong leadership can help business owners in their fight to stay alive in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, let’s talk about the importance of protecting your people.
Since we opened our business owner crisis hotline, we’ve received quite a few phone calls. One particular caller was an owner in the Midwest. He had about 200 questions for us, 99-percent of which had to do with his people.
We spent an hour on the phone with him.
He had a video conference with his four branch managers coming up, and needed advice on what to tell his people to make them feel protected. While his business is considered ‘essential,’ meaning he could stay open during a lockdown, he couldn’t keep everyone on board and continue operating.
In a recent episode of our podcast, the Hardball Profits Way, American Management Services’ Director of Management Services Mike Lockey and I ran through some of the suggestions we gave this owner:
Keep A Degree Of Normalcy
It might sound tough but try to instill a sense of normalcy in these abnormal times. What we did at American Management was create a phone tree where we kept employees updated on what was happening in the company.
Whether by phone, email, or video conference call, our current plan is to keep lines of communication open. Share both the good news and the bad. You should be honest, open, and consistent with your folks.
Assign communication responsibility to your key department heads to ensure they’re communicating with their employees. It’s called a phone tree for a reason: Make sure communication branches out.
What I’ve been doing is personally calling everyone working from home, asking them how they’re doing, their family, and offering help if they need it. This is something I feel strongly obligated to do, and it’s the right thing to do.
Keep Your Employees
Figure out a creative way to keep your employees on board. You might not be able to keep everyone, but there are options you can take. Instead of letting go of three employees and keeping one, cut each employee’s time to 25-percent, so they get an equal share of time on the books.
They would still be on the books as an employee, and I believe they could still apply for unemployment benefits.
Keep Everything Fluid
As the situation changes and new developments take place, try to decipher how this will affect all your employees. For us, when the Senate passed the stimulus package, we brought in outside counsel to help figure out what it meant and how it would affect our employees.
The integrity of our company means we have to protect our people.
If you have time off or vacation days in the next 90 days, kill it. Your people need you right now. In fact, you should be the first person in and the last person out the door. It’s something you should have done anyway, but in this crisis, it’s ever so pertinent.
If you haven’t downloaded it yet, we put together a coronavirus relief resource document with information on CARES and SBA offerings for small business owners. We also set up a crisis hotline, running 24 hours a day.
If you need management advice, call 855-876-5561, and a live person will answer the call.
As I mentioned before, it’s free!
Stay safe, folks!