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Back to School: Back to Basics

It’s September. At my house, that means we’ve been adjusting to back to school routines. It didn’t take me more than a few days to realize that we had gotten lazy over the summer with all the extra time in the mornings and few deadlines. We had forgotten some no brainer basics that allow us to get to school – and work – on time. Basics like locating shoes, collecting homework and books, and getting papers signed before bed. Laying out the school uniform and prepping for lunches and snacks. Should I go on or are you feeling this same pain?

On a slightly more global front, amidst the talk of the next Presidential election and the seemingly endless list of candidates entering and exiting the race, there have also been some pretty steady conversations about the next economic recession. Trade wars with China have people nervous and many are wondering when not if, the US economy will take a serious dip.
So how can you help prepare your business or your team for a possible recession? Like we had to do when going back to school, let’s get back to the basics.

When a recession hits, people get nervous about changing jobs. And with one of the lowest unemployment rates in history, it’s already hard to find new talent. So as a manager, make sure you are really working with your employees by providing leadership, mentoring, and growth opportunities. Happy employees won’t want to change jobs, and they are also more likely to refer their friends. Don’t count on other companies to layoff the talent you need. Keep the talent you already have and keep them happy.

Aside from keeping your current employees happy, work to ensure your company or department is functioning at high efficiency. Find ways to stay within budget, maximize resources and save. We’re not talking about skimping on the coffee and creamer, but by displaying fiscal responsibility, your employees and higher-ups will notice. Tighten up a little on resources and ensure that you hit the deliverables on time. Find new and creative ways to incentivize employees to keep them motivated that don’t require a lot of cash. These can all go a long way to keeping your team and you off the layoff line.

Next, review the objectives of the team and your role. Are you hitting all the metrics? Are there areas you are or have allowed a little slacking? When things are good, it’s easy to get a little fast and loose. Now is the time to reign it in a bit and get disciplined. Make yourself and your team such a valuable resource to the organization that they can’t live without you. Prepare the projects a bit faster, a bit more under budget and a bit better. Every time. Become indispensable.

Most managers and teams only think about reviewing performance in a meaningful way once a year. Take a position of constantly reviewing performance in a non-formalized way to be on the lookout for ways to improve. Encourage employees to make suggestions and share their ideas on how to improve the team and then actually listen. By becoming a tight-knit team focused on quality and success, you will achieve more together.

So, as kids go back to school and pumpkin spice everything creeps its way back into your routine, work on getting back to some of the basics and reviewing ways to stay efficient and stay relevant. You may not be able to completely avoid the effects of a recession on your company, but by working in advance to be resourceful, you may be able to limit the exposure.