A downturn in South Africa’s economic activity across all sectors and classes is pretty much acknowledged by most. The SA economy shrinking by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2019; has resulted in companies small and large tightening their belts (to varying degrees) as the decline in our struggling South African economy drags on. Sure, we know that in a recession not every industry is affected equally, however, a robust recession-proof businesses does perform significantly better than others.
These robust companies are using advanced analytics to reduce quality issues and error rates or they are using analytics to further enhance superb customer service and to retain and up-sell within their loyal customer base. We share with you two (of many) easy-to-implement steps to further secure your company’s resilience and form protection during these challenging times. Tough times impact employee morale and productivity in the most negative manner. With frequent (planned) reduction in headcount, your employee are required to do more with less, which may rapidly lead to a culture of apprehension. Productivity suffers when employees feel uncertain. Receipt of perceived bad news is a drastic demotivated.

So, how do you, your leadership, managers of others and Human Resources soften or reduce the negative impact?

Proactively assess and track levels of employee morale and productivity. Leveraging data, specifically your Predictive Index Human Analytics and performance data, is the best way to meet these challenges head on. It’s imperative to understand what the PI Human Analytics say about your employees and their morale as well as your day-to-day operations via productivity levels data, even when indications confirm your company is suffering. Use PI data to gather the current Self-Concepts of your people and the teams within which they operate. Understand and address appropriately the perceptions that your employees have of “what is currently being expected, or in desperate cases demanded of them”. Look at a group (of self-concepts) of employees all fulfilling for the same role, or all reporting to the same managers. Identify and interpret the trends presented.
Consider the (self-concept) adjustments made together with the change in morale per person and across the teams. Formulate your intervention strategy to bring about a positive change.
Investigate the following per department, organisation-wide:
• Are there shortages, failures, room for improvements regarding your offerings?
• How much talent does the business depend on and how much can you afford right now?
• How far can we really stretch people?
• What resources do you need to maintain or exceed current output?

So, how else may you, your leadership and managers of others support your most valuable resources during tough times?

As a manager of others; your responsibility is as their leader and their coach. Business leader are often so immersed in the revenue generation of their unit, or in rolling up their own sleeves to take over the activity of an employee who is not meeting expectations, that they often neglect the fact and responsibility that they’re also a coach. It’s up to you, the leaders and manager of others to provide everything your employees need to succeed. Managers should be able to outline expectations and explain where your employees are missing the (performance) mark.

Data (both human analytics and performance data), provides fact-based evidence which leaves less room for subjective interpretation and provides a scientific and objective foundation to move forward with.
· Revisit the Behavioural (and Cognitive) Job Targets ensuring relevance to your business strategy within this current economy?
· Always know and fully understand the talent of all your direct reports.
· Assess the talent (cognitive and behavioural) match between the job target and the incumbent.
· Implement improvement strategies to either bridge the talent gap (if possible) and to address knowledge or skills discrepancies.

The true measure of a GREAT MANAGER is being equipped and able to inspire others to the highest levels of performance, continue developing and rewarding them, and most importantly, to retain top talent during the tough times.

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