How to Keep Employee Morale High During an Economic Recession

The UK has officially entered a period of recession, according to a recent report by the Office of Budget Responsibility. The report also demonstrated that the average household was going to experience as much as a 7% drop in income over the next two years, being the biggest single fall in the history of living standards recording.

The recession is also tipped to be the longest ever experienced by the country – a fact that has understandably impacted the working population heavily. As an even more costly winter besets the nation, morale is on the decline. Steady employment is more important than ever for both employers and employees, and individual workers will be looking not only for reassurances, but also for motivation.

UK businesses are already on the backfoot as a result of the Bank of England’s attempts to mitigate the rising rate of inflation; a recent 3% hike in interest rates has made borrowing much more expensive, and has been designed to reduce consumer spending – risking businesses and livelihoods. At a time where your business’ stature is more precarious than ever, what can you do to keep your staff supported and content?

Improved HR Processes

The first port of call for any business facing a potential morale issue should be to focus in on their HR department and processes. For most businesses, HR is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to employee engagement. Using the right software solutions can help HR staff automate less important processes and focus more directly on staff morale as a priority.

One key corner of this equation is payroll, and the state of vital add-ons such as pension schemes and staff perks. During a recession, the biggest worry on your workers’ minds is most likely financial in nature; any reassurances you can give about your business’ solvency, and the safety of your employees’ wages, can be helpful in this regard. 

Pivoting to payroll software to automate wages can be a positive step towards administrative transparency, indicating that wages will be paid automatically, without delay and without executive intervention. This wage security is just one step in trust-making with anxious staff, but it is one that can settle minds regardless.

Recognition and Rewards

Sometimes, the simplest avenues to improved morale are the most effective. Employees are often more likely to remain in their posts where recognition and rewards are a more ingrained part of company culture – making regular recognition for good work a useful tool in reducing staff turnover. 

This can be done in a number of equitable ways, from appropriate twists on employee-of-the-month schemes to rewards and bonuses based on project completion. Altogether, regular rewarding and recognition ensures that staff feel valued, and safer in their role as a result. 

Training Opportunities

Lastly, one of the leading concerns of workers during a recession is the possibility of redundancy. As the economy shrinks, more and more businesses will struggle to justify their staff numbers against falling profits, leading inevitably to mass lay-offs. To assuage this concern within your own business, you could invest in more training programmes for staff. Not only will they feel valued, but they will also be equipped with valuable skills in the event of the worst-case scenario.