Over the past few weeks, DEED’s Workforce Strategy Consultants (WSC) have been assisting businesses through strategies prepared within the Workforce Optimization Cycle (WOC). This model was created by the team while Minnesota continues to reopen under the Stay Safe MN Plan. This process was developed to walk businesses through best strategies when reestablishing their workforce.
As part of the Planning for Economic Recovery series, each week we expand on a different stage of the WOC. This week’s focus is stage 5: Communicate and Implement Strategies.
More so today than ever, the importance of communicating early and often to your employees cannot be overstated. Clear and honest communication builds a trusting and loyal workforce and employees appreciate feeling like they have been involved in the process. Your communication strategy should be clear and consistent and take many forms from verbal to written, such as open forums, team meetings, one on ones with supervisors, memos, letters, and emails. All new policies and procedures should be given to employees to review and training should be made available. Be sure to keep in mind your English language learning staff and have necessary information translated. It is necessary that any new procedures are understood. If changes are made, notification to staff should be done immediately to avoid confusion and continued spread of outdated information.
The economy and unemployment numbers should be watched closely, as well as what competitors and vendors are doing to stay competitive. Take note of strategies others are using to promote their company image and recruit top talent. Your success in the market today is contingent on the strength and resilience of your workforce. Ensuring your strategy moving forward is person centered will be key to long term success.
Remember, Minnesotans who have been receiving the extra $600/week for unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will no longer receive that additional temporary federal payment at the end of July. If you have openings to fill, now is a great time to advertise your positions with a start date the last week of July.
Make sure your employees know their work schedule and are notified of any changes, such as shift changes, rotation, days of the week, and make it a priority to notify employees who will not be returning as soon as possible. This is often a very challenging event in someone’s life, take time to share this information with empathy and ensure you have collected local and regional resources and provide benefit options and unemployment resources available to them.
Contact a CareerForce location near you for assistance with dislocated workers or you can contact DEED’s Rapid Response team. Federal law requires employers with at least 100 employees to notify DEED at least 60 days prior to a mass layoff or plant closing.
Market your company internally and externally. Recognize staff’s birthdays, work anniversaries, certifications and promotions. Make sure you are known in your community by supporting local small businesses, being involved in the chamber, schools, and local organizations such as Rotary, Lions or Scouts. Consider providing paid time for your staff to volunteer locally. Utilize social media to highlight your staff and community support. Businesses need to have a strong social media presence, especially when wanting to recruit the younger workforce.
Finally, have open conversations with your management teams about any strategies to move through this challenging time. Maintaining a positive outlook and focus will reassure your workforce that any setback is sure to be overcome in time, and your business will be stronger than it was before due to the perseverance and dedication of the people who made it happen.
Consider joining one of Minnesota’s 12 regional chapters of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), which provide professional development opportunities through monthly meetings, workshops, seminars, newsletters, and job banks. Other community organizations, like CareerForce leading partner Career Solutions in Stearns and Benton counties, also have monthly networking groups for HR Leaders where businesses check their competition at the door and have very open and candid conversations about their current business situations and lean on one another for advice and input.
Keep in mind, the Workforce Strategy Consultant team is always available to local businesses to assist in developing innovative workforce solutions by aligning resources, facilitating collaboration, and leveraging expertise in targeted industry sectors to drive economic equity and growth.
Workforce Strategy Consultant Author:
Della Ludwig - Workforce Strategy Consultant for Central Minnesota
Jessica Miller - Workforce Strategy Consultant for SW Minnesota
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