Motivating in a void: Prevent ‘survivor syndrome’ in yourself and your team — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

When your company earns fat profits and spreads the wealth among employees, it's easy to motivate them. But, during a retrenchment, acquisition or layoff, you're left without some standard motivational tools and with a new set of motivation obstacles.

While senior executives huddle behind closed doors trying to figure out how to survive on a scaled back business model, keep their numbers in the black and save their own skin, front-line managers are left on the personnel ground floor — trying to keep good employees focused and promote teamwork among shell-shocked workers.

Risk: After a round of layoffs, remaining employees will wonder "Who's next?" That insecurity can cause layoff survivors to "fire themselves" and seek green pastures elsewhere. Layoffs distract even the best employees, making them fixated on the next round of layoffs, instead of what they can do to help avoid it.

Action: Don't ignore that uncertainty. Use open communication and education to keep star performers on board.

In troubled times, you must master the Politics of Teamwork, for the sake of your staff and your own job. Mastering Office Politics shows you how to survive layoffs, downsizings and mergers by using the skills of your best team players to help meet your company's new financial goals.

Learn how to execute stellar leadership in trying times and build a team that directly impacts your bottom line — and bolsters your career.
Mastering Office Politics

Layoffs put retention on shaky ground at precisely the time that remaining employees' loyalty is key to your organization's success.

Ignoring that "survivor syndrome" will only cripple morale further and generate more turnover. Communication is the key to overcoming it. Here's how:

1. Communicate with employees openly and often. HR and senior management must be honest and proactive with employees about the organization's financial health and its business plans. Say to top performers point blank: "You're a key piece of our future. What concerns do you have and how can we address them?"

The more official communication from you and management, the less reliance on rumors. Help focus employees on a vision and direction that's consistent and familiar.

2. Ask employees for cost-saving ideas. That not only shows your distaste for layoffs, it can generate some great ideas.

Example: When a San Francisco tech company asked for cost-cutting ideas, employees suggested voluntary shorter workweeks and unpaid vacation.

Result: Enough employees signed on to four-day workweeks and unpaid vacations to cut the company's labor costs by 40 percent.

Help yourself and your team survive whatever is on the horizon. Learn how to master every political situation in the workplace and effectively maneuver among all co-workers, above or below you on the corporate ladder.

From cutbacks to career advancement, from handling the boss to being the boss, from building your team to weeding out the ones who will never be team players, Mastering Office Politics has the survival tips you need.
Learn more about Mastering Office Politics

3. Strive to maintain the current culture. Cultural change can be the biggest fear surrounding restructurings. Try to retain the low-cost/high-impact touches in your workplace, from quality coffee to company picnics.

4. Stress the value of your benefits plan. Research shows that layoff survivors tend to view their benefits package less highly. Nip that attitude in the bud by distributing a personalized benefits statement to each employee.

5. Focus on individual achievement and development. Now's the time to crank up your recognition efforts. Tie rewards and bonuses to individual goals. Keep internal job postings fresh and look for opportunities to cross train and promote from within.

With Mastering Office Politics, you'll learn:
  • 4 pointers on how to put space between yourself and a boss in trouble
  • 3 basics to building your new team
  • How to communicate in a crisis: 4 ways to hold your team together
  • Proven strategies for leading the turnaround team to victory (and a big promotion)
Mastering Office Politics

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