Thanks to HAPPEN member Gautam Nath for his thoughts:
By Gautam Nath
'Recession' - a dreaded word among Corporates?
'Recession' – a dreaded word among Employees?
'Recession' – a dreaded word among HR practitioners?
Humbug, I say.
Recession is nothing more than the lungs of economy breathing. We all accept daylight and then the night. We all accept a flu or a cold to come our way once in a while.
So what is the big deal we are placing on this word called 'Recession'. And treating it as holier than thou.
Wake up! It is merely the body of your economy breathing. We can't always have cash cows, purple cows and sunshine economies around us without experiencing and riding through the odd recession as it comes along in the life cycle of economic development.
Once you have accepted this theory, watch how your organisation's mindset changes, and watch how you address yourselves through this period.
Everyday can not be a date with Jennifer Lopez, there have to be some Ugly Betty's in between.
Now having said that, you won't take out your finest bone china when Betty is visiting would you?
And that is really the name of the game.
During the recession period, both management and employees should be clearly aware of the speed breaker in their way and move into a lower gear. No extravaganzas, no unnecessary expenditures and no big money commitments are themes for the day.
Laying off workers or going back on commitments made is like putting your children into the street when they are ill. Would you ever do that?
Organisations are like Elephants, they have long memories and you will be remembered more by the good things you have done during recession times rather than during boom periods.
Everybody can share some of the fat, but the ones who share the lean are those that make it to the end. I have seen employees offer to take no increases in salaries or even offer to take a cut during recession periods embodying commitment to the organisation.
Senior Management saving its fat paychecks by letting go of larger number of lower paid employees speaks poorly of their leadership qualities. Self preservation theory has no room for successful leaders.
Selfless preservation theory is what builds Mandela's of tomorrow.
If you note the number of waking hours an employee spends in the office compared to any other activity, you will soon realize that it out numbers any other. Therefore, work is not about earning the paycheck only, it is their life.
Sharing downturn situations with them helps them understand what lies ahead and be prepared for it. Being part of this picture is what motivates them to grit the teeth and hang in there doing what is best during this time. Communication and transparency are two essential ingredients for perseverance and successfully weathering the storm.
So at the end, if you do take away just one learning, recession is a way of life, it will come in any economy at some time or the other and so rather than treating it as an enigma, treat is as a part of corporate life, make a strategy, involve all the team members and united we stand divided we fall.
The author is based in Toronto and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org