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Recession Planning for Employees

By Susan Heathfield

CEOs interviewed by Price Waterhouse Coopers in their annual survey of CEO economic confidence indicate the lowest confidence figures in continued business growth since 2003 in North America (35%) and Western Europe (44%). In North America, this figure is down from 53% last year. In the Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe, CEOs indicate much greater confidence in continued economic expansion and business growth.

Given the downward spiral of CEOs' confidence in the United States, and with all of the talk about the uncertain economy in the U.S. and Western Europe, what have you done in your company or department to plan for the possibility that the downturn continues in severity and further impacts your employees?

These are some of the actions I recommend as you plan for your employees, for your Human Resources department and for the other departments within your business, perhaps for your whole company, as economic uncertainty continues. Overall Company or Departmental Response to Continuing Economic Uncertainty

  • Take a look at your strategic plan, your mission statement, vision statement, values, and annual goals. Is your strategic framework sufficiently articulated to help you make it through a serious downturn? Has it been sufficiently communicated to your employees so that they are not afraid, they trust their leadership, and they feel they are headed in a shared, positive direction?

    Asking them to participate in the conversation is an important commitment to utilizing your employee talent and dedication. Discussing the impact of your strategic framework: mission, vision, values, and goals, on each employees' job is the step that helps them "own" the strategic direction. Without this step - they are just puzzled. Sorry.

  • Be aware of your company's and your industry challenges. Is your product or service essential no matter what happens in the economy? Does your product save time, save money, or otherwise make itself indispensable even in a down economy? If not immediately determinable, how can you reposition your product or service so that customers begin to see it that way. The customer loyalty and the brand recognition you have built over time will become even more critical in a continuing economic downturn.

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