The economic climate has created the perfect recipe for dissatisfaction, anxiety and uncertainty. While wages have stagnated, costs for food, heating, interest rates and mortgage payments are rising.
This creates the perfect storm for small businesses trying to balance rising overheads and production costs while wanting to support and retain their teams. How can businesses try to support their loved teams through the difficult times ahead?
Firstly, remind yourself of what makes your business special. What you stand for and what were the main things that attracted your team members in the first place? Are they still being lived out and met?
In hard times, we can lose sight of the culture, mission and values that bind a team, especially when in-person meetings may no longer be as frequent. For most startups or purpose-led businesses, the draw to join is a mixture of the cause, autonomy, variety of work and the team – none of which are financial values.
We need to ensure these values continue to be lived out. Work takes up so much of our time that we must ensure it’s fulfilling.
At Rubies in the Rubble, we are now primarily remote (other than a weekly catch-up). However, we are still committed to our monthly team outings and volunteering days. Small initiatives like these help us stay connected, and remind us of the cause and who we work with – and why.
It’s also a good idea to test practical things that might alleviate stresses. First and most obviously, try to understand what’s creating any work-related issues and address them. And think about reduced travel, flexible working hours to support families juggling childcare, working from abroad offers, four-day weeks, team awards, training and development plans, technology and equipment, working from home allowance… there are lots of options!
While none of these will ultimately alleviate financial trials, we hope they can help alleviate stress and show that the company continues to care for its team regardless of the environment.
We aim to introduce as many initiatives as possible to help reconnect our team to each other and our purpose – it’s always been paramount to our team’s satisfaction and retention, in great and challenging times.