I was reminded of a phrase the other day that I had not heard since 2008, the term was “Mental Recession”. Not long after hearing that phrase back in 2008, the real recession started with the massive layoffs, credit and housing issues, and oil prices hit record highs so it was generally not a very good time for businesses. Since I could not find any formal definition for the phrase mental recession anywhere on the internet (sorry Google, you just got stumped!). I guess I am free to define this phrase any way that I wish to define it and so are you free to define this phrase. I’ll define what this phrase means to me at the end of this blog.
At this moment in time, it’s hard to feel super upbeat about our economy with the US-China trade talks in motion, a second partial government shutdown very much still a possibility and constant legislative differences on the importance of immigration controls to protect our southern borders. Probably the biggest unknown not spoken about that would arguably put all of the above items collectively to shame, is the 21 trillion dollar US National debt that could cripple our economy if not handled with caution and extreme care once those debt reduction efforts commence which will have to happen at some point in time. This is such a looming issue that Howard Schultz (Chairman of the Board for Starbucks) has decided to run for president in 2020 (as an independent candidate I might add) and has made the reduction of the national debt one of his many platforms for change.
Mental Recession, yeah, I still don’t exactly know what it means but that phrase doesn’t bring me warm and fuzzy feelings. I do think all business owners/leaders/CEO’s could benefit their businesses by thinking about ways to futureproof their businesses today for an uncertain set of economic challenges that appear to be looming down the road. There is a Chinese proverb “For every hundred men hacking away at the branches of a diseased tree, only one will stop to inspect the roots.” If you aren’t taking the time to inspect your roots, your business could be at risk.
Futureproofing your company has never been more needed or necessary and my experiences have shown that there are three specific areas that can have a significant positive impact to each and every organization, company and global enterprise.
3 Ways to Futureproof Your Business for success in 2019 and beyond:
Review all costs in your business including your people costs
Most of us understand the hard costs that goes with a business. Technology, vendor services, office space, etc. Businesses should review all of these costs and make sure that they are getting what they pay for. For most companies, with the exception of capital intensive companies in industries such as mining, downstream oil and gas etc, people costs are the single largest investments that companies make. Something that is much more difficult, but perhaps even more necessary is evaluating your people cost.
Does the expectations of the agreement of what you are paying your employees match to what your employees are actually delivering? If so, great for you and keep doing what you are doing but if not, then decisions need to be made about how to deal with those disparities. Staffing agencies offer a great opportunity to help companies to deal with their people costs as well as to provide flexibility in their workforce planning efforts by helping to manage a blended workforce of part time employees, temporary employees and full time employees. This workforce flexibility allows organizations and companies to have maximum flexibility to navigate uncertain economic times which helps by the way, to reduce mental recessive concerns. (Just made up another phrase, “mental recessive concerns”, feel free to use it).
Evaluate your business plan
One month in 2019 is down, how did your business perform? Up or down to your business plan? We are now deeply into earnings season and most companies that have reported thus far are beating the analysts’ earnings estimates for their companies which is fantastic and the stock market is up year-to-date. Then why is the consumer confidence index down month over month? I believe that mental recession has to do with some of this. If your business is up, share that goodness with your employees and thank them for their contributions for Q4 of last year as well as for all of last year and if you out performed your business plan in January than thank your employees for a great start to 2019. All this thankfulness will help your employees rebuff their own mental recessive tendencies which may even help them to be happier at work which quite possibly may even help your employees to treat your customer’s with that same level thankfulness which could help to continue the success that you are having in 2019.
If you missed your Q4 earnings estimates, missed your full year results or started off 2019 behind your business plan, then please review the first item above because you are going to need to review all of your operating costs right now to futureproof the rest of 2019.
Protect Against Loss Of Business By Not Hiring Right or Having The Right People In Place
A bad hire can not only hurt your bottom line, but they can also lead to lowered employee morale from your top employees. The rest of the team has to pick up the slack from unproductive or ineffective workers, which can cause your valued employees to become dissatisfied, disengaged, or worse.
There’s a difference between a poor performer and a toxic employee. A toxic employee not only causes harm but they also spread their behavior to others with their negative energy. It is not just a negative attitude, it’s an attitude that the whole team suffers and can potentially catch. Once they’re on your team, steps need to be taken to resolve that situation.
Set a meeting with your toxic, or suspected toxic employee, and objectively explain their behavior and its effects, using specific, concrete examples. Discuss what kind of behavior you’d like to see and develop an improvement plan with the employee. Set clear goals and establish a specific metric for a positive change in behavior. Employees tend to respond more strongly to potential losses than potential gains, so it’s important to show a toxic employee what they stand to lose if they don’t improve.
Many times, a poor performing employee can be coached up to a higher level of performance so do start with coaching to perform as that is the right first approach to take with both a toxic and poor performing employee and always assume positive intent, that being, that every single person wants to do a good job and it is up to leaders to help their employees to perform the job that deep down inside, they really want to perform.
Bringing it all together now
Mental recession, which I will now define as generally having a simple case of “The Blues”, a little sadness that only a positive attitude can cure. No meds required and no alcohol desired, just a good old fashion positive attitude. A positive attitude can cure so many things in life including lackluster business performance. The simplest way to create a positive attitude in your life, in your business, in your marriage, in your relationships, can be summed up in one word: Gratitude.
Much has been written of late about the positive effects of finding gratitude in our lives and not so much from the perspective of actually finding things/stuff/situations/people to be grateful for, but rather the ‘process’ one goes thru to find gratefulness in their life can generate loads of happiness and positive energy. So surround yourself with positive people, find gratefulness in your life, and change the everyday language that we use to the language of positive words, because I believe when we find happiness by being a positive force in this world, then phrases like mental recession will have very little to no effect on you or your business in 2019. I am super grateful to all of you and very thankful that you took the time to read this blog.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.