How Do You Ramp Back Up Following a Slowdown? Five Thoughts

Situation: A company is ramping back up following a two-year slowdown. During the slowdown employees were on reduced weeks versus historic 50+ hour weeks. When polled about resuming historic hours, several say that they say they don’t want to work more than 45 hours per week. What are best practices for ramping back up following a prolonged slowdown?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Communication is critical, particularly during times of change. Make sure that you clearly communicate the new situation, any change in direction that accompanies this, the need to readapt to the former schedule, and the benefits to the company and employees in terms of ongoing opportunity and employment.
  • If resumption of normal business includes any change in direction, add metrics and objectives that compliment the new direction. To ease the assumption of new roles and responsibilities, provide process check lists.
  • Provide more deadlines, and complement this with increased recognition and rewards.  Rewards do not necessarily mean money, particularly if your employees are knowledge workers who have to exercise critical judgment in their work.
  • Make sure that you are providing any training that employees need to move into new roles. Schedule training days on Fridays – but let those involved know that they are expected to get their regular week’s work done by Thursday evening.
  • During future slow periods, instead of cutting back hours for everyone, offer unpaid vacation to employee volunteers and keep everyone else working at normal capacity. This avoids forcing them to become accustomed to shorter hours at reduced pay.

Key Words: Slowdown, Resume, Work Hours, Adapt, Communication, Delegation, Change, Direction, Metrics, Objectives, Rewards, Training

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