Gain Commitment and Loyalty During a Recession

Most experts would agree that the best way to behave with your people during a recession (or otherwise uncertain times) is to communicate as often and candidly as possible. This shows respect, and people respond well to being treated this way….even under circumstances in which they could be laid off.

And one type of conversation you can have with your people is about helping them think through and identify new skills they can develop, so they can come out of this recession more valuable. Whether your people (or you, for that matter) are laid off, having this discussion is a way to strengthen a relationship and earn commitment and loyalty.

There are many ways we can develop new skills and there are plenty of colleges and universities that offer degrees and certification programs that are easy to attend and relevant to these changing times. Take a look at a stock chart of the Apollo Group (the parent company of the University of Phoenix). The stock price has almost doubled since April 2008, as enrollment numbers rise. People are updating their skills and increasing their education to become more valuable coming out of this recession.

It is not always necessary to obtain a full bachelor or master’s degree, which can take 1-3 years. In shorter periods of time, one can obtain certifications in project management, human resources, all manner of IT skills (and many others) at scores of local universities that offer continuing education programs.

Talk to your people about programs like these and encourage them to explore this option. Check to see if the company tuition reimbursement program would cover some or all of these expenses. That could be a nice kicker for your people.