Experts are warning us about a possible recession in the next one or two years. Rather than fall into damage-control mode in the midst of a downturn, it’s critical to strengthen your business today to be in a better position if and when that time comes.

It’s important to look critically at every aspect of your organization, from employee and leader development to overall organization effectiveness and efficiency, before it’s too late. Is your workforce adaptable enough to make it through the hard times? Are your goals easily accessible to everyone in the organization? Is your leadership fostering growth when it doesn’t seem like growth is possible? Are there any processes and functions that you can automate to reduce costs? Your organization should be asking these questions now. Here are some tips that can help.

Develop an Agile Workforce

An agile culture will help your organization adapt to the uncertain and volatile environments that recessions create. It will also help keep you ahead of the competition, so when a recession occurs, you’re already offering the market something your competitors don’t have, whether in the form of industry knowledge or more advanced products. Having a culture that supports change and agility will ensure you’re not behind if a recession happens.

Accelerate the Pace of Learning

To prepare for a recession, it is important to ensure that you have well-rounded employees who are excited about continuous learning. Training your workforce and bringing on candidates who have a broad range of knowledge will ensure that you have an enthusiastic and flexible workforce that can adapt to change.

Because employee engagement is even more crucial in volatile times, make sure that you implement soft skills development programs to motivate and engage your teams. Explore alternative, adaptive methodologies like microlearning and online learning technologies that can quickly develop employees’ effectiveness when working with others.

Share Goals

Employees who work toward common goals and understand the “why” of their work are more likely to stay motivated. Share your organization’s vision, align its goals with employees’ goals and keep those goals consistent. For example, if one of the company’s goal is to increase revenue by 15%, wait until you meet the goal or you’re almost to the goal before changing directions. If you do have to change the goal, make sure everyone is up to date and knows why it’s happening, and be sure to answer any questions they might have.

Lead Collaboratively

To collaborate effectively, leave your normal group of people. See what other departments or groups in the office are doing and how their practices can help toward shared organizational goals.

Spend time discussing challenges with employees, and brainstorm possible solutions. When a recession hits, and if your workforce shrinks, leaders will have to listen closely to all employees in order to build on collaboration during a challenging time.

Listen More Than You Talk

Employees have valuable insights from their everyday interactions with projects and customers. Listen to their feedback and ideas, so you don’t miss out on learning opportunities. If you’re not sure about a new process, or you’ve been traveling, listen and understand what employees are up to before switching processes or implementing something new. Ask for their input on how to save money, communicate with customers, and enhance organizational culture through improved processes or reallocating resources.

Explore a Flexible Workforce

Be open to exploring flexible work options, such as part-time work or an unpaid sabbaticals. These approaches will provide your employees with options while reducing your overall spend during difficult times.

When a recession hits, flexible, adaptable and well-built cultures will ensure that companies survive. Now’s the time to start implementing processes and developing employees who are able to thrive amid change and take charge if a recession hits.

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