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In extreme weather, safety concerns, closed roads, and states of emergency might lead you to shutter your business temporarily. But do you have to pay your employees while you're waiting for the storm to pass?

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Managing employees through a corporate crisis is one of the biggest career challenges you can face. Sudden change, uncertainty, and anxiety about the future can take a toll on productivity and morale. It’s your job as a manager to do the best you can to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your team motivated during tough times isn’t easy. However, strong leadership, good communication, and empathy can make all the difference. Let’s look at a few strategies for helping your team navigate a crisis.

1. Lead by example. Your team will follow your cues, so remain calm and upbeat. Encourage employees to continue to do their best work. Stick to your usual routine and schedule. If your department normally meets for a status review on Tuesday mornings, keep that date and time on the calendar.

2. Communicate. Your managerial communication skills are of utmost importance during difficult times. Explain the circumstances to the best of your knowledge. Be honest and forthright and share what you know. This will show employees you are sensitive to their need for information and have their best interests at heart. Address issues as they arise, and update your staff regularly as new developments occur. This is a situation where keeping employees well informed is of utmost importance.

3. Listen. There’s an old adage that states, “talking is silver and listening is gold.” Keep in mind that being a good listener is every bit as important as sharing information. Employees need to feel that they are being “heard,” especially in times of crisis, so sharpen your active listening skills. Give your undivided attention to any employee coming to speak with you. Try to understand his or her perspective. Maintain an open-door policy that lets your team know you’re approachable. Consider holding town hall-style meetings that allow management to address and hear from all employees at once. This way, no one feels left in the dark. Acting on questions raised in these meetings will let employees know they’re still valued, and that their concerns matter.

 


4. Ask employees for help. Encourage teams to brainstorm solutions to different problems. The collaboration will engage employees at a time when their bonds to the organization may be strained. Plus, your employees might save the day with innovative ideas that management hasn’t considered.

5. Acknowledge hard work and jobs well done. Employees who go above and beyond during times of adversity should be publicly recognized and rewarded (monetarily, if possible). Even token gifts have proven to be a powerful motivator and morale booster.

Setbacks and corporate crises are an unfortunate part of the business landscape. They are unpredictable and certainly not pleasant. You may not be able to control the ultimate outcome of the situation. But these strategies can help your organization move forward during difficult times.

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An optimistic attitude is a must-have for any business owner. But planning only for best-case scenarios can lead you into trouble. A single unfortunate incident can take away all you’ve worked to build. A fire…a flood…a wrongful termination lawsuit….an employee injury....the list goes on. The good news is that you can protect yourself and your company by carefully managing these risks.

A well-designed risk management program is key to the long-term security of your business. This often comes down to having the proper insurance coverage for specific risks.

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Employee benefits programs are a big part of attracting and retaining top talent. You’ve likely worked hard to develop a competitive package that meets your employees’ needs. But you may be undermining your hard work by not communicating effectively with your employees about their benefits.

In many companies the annual benefits review meeting is a time-honored tradition. Groups of employees attend with colleagues to listen to a speaker and prepare to enroll. But group benefits meetings come with some serious drawbacks. Not every employee attends, and those who do may not participate fully. Employees may be uncomfortable asking personal questions in a crowd. Also, the needs of each employee and his or her family are unique, and may not be addressed in a general presentation.

Successfully educating employees about benefits comes down to effective communication. With this in mind, many employers are moving away from group benefits meetings and offering one-on-one guidance instead. These programs help employees better understand their options, and ultimately make smarter benefits decisions.

One-on-one benefits counseling is easy to administer. Employees simply sign up for a time slot to discuss offerings with HR, and perhaps even with financial professionals. The employee and these experts go over specific issues about medical care, retirement, and other needs that can be met with voluntary benefits.

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Did you know that training boosts employee retention? Study after study shows that this is true. In addition to being more likely to stay at their jobs, properly trained employees are more effective than others, and less likely to expose your organization to unnecessary risks and liabilities. A comprehensive training program is a sound investment in both your employees and your company. 

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Even the most talented minds in business need the support of committed, able employees to bring their ideas to life. Building an effective workforce can be a challenging proposition, but having a solid workforce plan can help smooth the path.

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From water cooler gossip… to interminable meetings… to hours wasted scrolling social media, the modern workplace is teeming with threats to employee productivity. And those distractions are taking a toll: several recent surveys show U.S. employees spending a mere 40 to 50 percent of their workdays engaged in job-related tasks. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to help employees avoid common productivity pitfalls. 

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With the daily demands of keeping a workplace productive and profitable, many managers may overlook one simple perk that's been proven to boost employee retention: professional training.

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Face-to-face interviews are the best way to get to know job candidates, assess their ability to perform the job, and gauge whether they are a good fit for your organization. But before committing to an in-person interview, you may want to learn more about a candidate. This is where telephone screening comes in. 

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When unemployment is low, you may find yourself having trouble attracting top candidates to open positions at your organization. If you’re a hiring manager in this situation, your first step is to ensure that the job salary, benefits, work environment, and potential for advancement are all as competitive as possible for your industry and location. With those items in place, there’s another piece to the puzzle that can make a huge difference in reaching your ideal applicant: a great job ad. 

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