Here’s some quick, easy and cheap ways of keeping your recruitment team motivated during the COVID-19 crisis.
1. People need to know – sounds an obvious one, but it is important to remember that staying in contact is critical. And when they are working from home or furloughed they can feel very isolated. Any vacuums in information from you will be filled by all sorts of negative thoughts, or worse still, they will start to talk amongst themselves and create a negative string of rumours. So have regular – even daily virtual meetings with your teams. Make them informative and interesting. Appreciate the vast amount of information – true or otherwise – which they are getting from news feeds, friends and social media. Give them a chance to talk.
2. Don’t lie – they are not stupid and will know if you are trying to be falsely positive or pretending to know more than you do. People will respond much better and be more positive if they know they are being told the truth. If you don’t know the answer to something – say so.
3. Baby steps – it is impossible to know what will be happening in 1 month, let alone 6 months’ time. So don’t set too many plans for the long-term. Perhaps look at things week by week or even day by day. As the future becomes clearer, you can naturally start talking a bit longer term.
4. People are emotional – including you! You may see strange, unexpected and unusual behaviours from your team but it is important to remember two things. Firstly, don’t jump down their throats if they are being negative or unresponsive. They are probably fearful and uncertain for the future. They don’t know what the future holds – professionally and personally – and they may have relatives who are ill or vulnerable. The leader’s job in these times is to show compassion, empathy and understanding. The second thing is to keep your own worries and concerns in check. Instinctive as it is, it will go down really badly if you vent your frustration, anger and concerns on your staff. This is known as Emotional Intelligence – the ability to read, understand and control the emotions in yourself and others.
5. Opportunity in crisis – it may be a cliché, but that does not mean it isn’t true! As the coming months unfold, there will be opportunities that we can’t even imagine at the moment and perhaps the biggest risk is that we and our team stop looking for these. So have regular conversations with your team about opportunities that you and they identify to encourage open minds.
6. Positive actions – the optimism of the action always outweighs the pessimism of the thought. Thinking is important, but thinking without action ultimately creates inactivity and demotivation. So keep them busy. Hopefully talking to candidates and clients. But if that isn’t possible perhaps some housekeeping of CRMs, using LinkedIn and Social Media better or how about some training?
7. Reinforce positives – keep an eye open for things that you can praise and applaud. Catch them doing something right! It is important that people feel that they are appreciated and are adding value. Even if deals are not going in, look to praise anything that warrants it.
8. Stay informed, but don’t obsess – of course you and your team should keep abreast of what is going on – both in your market, but in the wider economy and society. But there is so much media coverage that will be pretty negative, (and let’s face, it they haven’t got much else to cover right now). It is important that you and your team do not become too focused on it.
9. Do something worthy – if your business is quiet, perhaps get your team to do something good for the community. Raising money for the NHS (look at Captain Tom), offering to help local vulnerable groups etc. It will make everyone feel better.
10. Plan for the worst, but expect the best – there will clearly be difficult times ahead for many recruitment firms and we need to put in place plans that will help deal with these difficult times. But we should also be entering into the coming weeks and months with positive expectations. Your emotional behaviour as the leader will be critical to how your team reacts and behaves. They will all be watching you very carefully.
11. Clarity, clarity, clarity – the three most important words. Strive for this in all that you think, do and communicate. Have clear aims for your business so everyone one can follow. Delegate through your visions and values. At Enabling Change, we have three clear aims right now:
Save money – what can we do without, what can we do cheaper?
Make money – what can we do to maintain and develop new revenue streams right now?
Reposition – what can we do now to reposition our services, brand and communication to meet the changing needs of the future?
Good luck, good skill and good decisions.