Are we headed for a recession?  Most indices point in that direction.

An economic recession is defined as “significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy lasting more than two quarters, normally visible in GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

This translates to an unstable economic environment that affects business owners, managers, and employees.  Higher prices, job instability, and an unclear future are contributing factors to stress in the workplace.

From a Human Resource perspective, what’s to be done?  Doing nothing is rarely the answer.

Two keys to thriving in uncertain times for any organization are preparation and communication.

To prepare: employers should look at cross-training employees, to ensure all critical functions can be covered in the event of a hiring freeze.  Temporary or part-time workers may also be a good solution if it makes business sense.

Organizational resiliency can also be bolstered by a comprehensive, standardized performance evaluation process that is adhered to across the organization.  Consistent evaluation standards and methods are one building block for consistent, high-level performance.

Effectively communicating during this time may be difficult but it is essential as economic uncertainties put enormous pressures on employees.

Empathy for employees’ particular situations is important and operationalizing this concern is vital.

It’s a difficult path when an organization seeks to be transparent while at the same time not alarming employees to the point of seeking employment elsewhere.  Share information whenever possible to avoid speculation and gossip!

Understanding that both the organization and its valued employees are affected by a downturn is the first step to resiliency and success.