Erica Pinsky



Recession Proof Your Business

The world economic crisis is upon us. We are bombarded daily with news of job loss, layoffs and falling profits. Do you want to know the best way to help your business avoid disaster?

The answer is simple. Adopt respectful people practices and become an Employer of Choice. Employers of Choice are faring a lot better through the recession than their less respectful competitors, as revealed by recently released research from GreatPlaceJobs.com.

This study compared the layoff track record and financial performance of the Fortune 100 Biggest U.S. Companies with the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. While 73% of the biggest companies experienced layoffs in 2008, only 35% of the best companies did. Those workplaces actually enjoyed revenue growth that was 27.4% higher than that of their competitors in Q3 2008. In fact, their average stock price was almost 10% higher at the end of 2008 (compared to the beginning of 2008) than that of their competitors.

Furthermore, while nine of the biggest companies on the Fortune list either went bankrupt or received bailouts from the US government, none of the great workplaces did.

This news came as no surprise to GreatPlaceJobs founder Asher Adelman, who also founded eBossWatch, a website that lets employers anonymously “rate” their boss, featured in the November issue of this ezine. “By providing an excellent work environment, great employers benefit from employees with higher levels of motivation, loyalty, and creativity. It should come as no surprise that happy employees work harder and smarter.”  

It didn’t come as much of a surprise to me either. In fact, my new book, Road to Respect: Path to Profit, focuses on the relationship between respectful people practices and business success, and shares stories of Employers of Choice to demonstrate that link.

When I started working on Road to Respect two years ago, this economic crisis was not even on the radar screen. I focused on positioning businesses to attract and retain quality employees in an increasingly diverse and competitive job market.

The new research from GreatPlaceJobs confirms that a respectful workplace is the ultimate win/win in business. An essential element of a respectful workplace culture is ongoing, honest communication. That communication builds relationships across functional and hierarchical lines, and produces an organization that is responsive and adaptable.

When external conditions change, and particularly when they change as rapidly as they have in recent months, businesses need to be able to react - and react quickly. They need employees who are interested and able to generate new ideas and strategies, and be quickly mobilized by those in the upper echelons. Those employees won’t exist where people are working in fear based, bureaucratic and disconnected cultures.

“Overall, business is about people” writes Luke Visconti of Diversity Inc. “Your company's ability to command a superior margin over a competitor is directly due to your company's relationship with your customers, investors, suppliers and employees. Bad management is exposed in tough times because a rising market masks many flaws.” 

Are you ready to look at what might now be exposed within your business? Your willingness to do so may be the critical factor in your company’s long term survival. Replace disrespectful practices and relationships with respectful ones. Create an environment that will weather the current storm and ensure you become a great workplace that attracts top employees when the economic tide begins to turn, as it inevitably will.

Pinsky’s writing style makes this book an easy read for managers, decision-makers, human resource professionals and business owners and anyone else interested in building a respectful workplace. She provides tangible advice interwoven with the stories of real organizations who demonstrate on a daily basis the value of promoting a respectful workplace. Pinsky ensures that readers can glean from the book information they need to take action. A respectful  workplace culture is a road “paved” over time with trust and support; and Pinsky’s book provides the tools you need to arrive at your destination.

Catherine M. Mattice
President, Civility Partners, LLC & SME on Workplace Bullying