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An economist I am not. So, I’m unapologetic about my using the word “recessiony.”

But regardless of the technical state of our current economy, we’re seeing the pendulum return from the height of the Great Resignation. The war for talent is a gently calming storm.

And companies – and leaders – may experience a false sense of security. With the threat of layoffs or hiring freezes looming, hey no one’s gonna leave in this economy, right?

This deeply flawed logic causes companies to lessen their focus on Employee Experience (EX). And here’s where I get real unapologetic. Because in recessiony times, EX matters more than ever! Because in seasons of recession…

  • We all carry more stress, worry, and anxiety
  • We feel pressure to do more with less (whether layoffs are real or hypothetical)
  • Our customers’ expectations are elevated– they want more service or product bang for their buck

And all this means that:

  • Burnout is on the rise, putting wellness at risk
  • We need to amplify collaboration, innovation, and efficiency if we’re going to deliver more with less
  • Talent may not leave…but worse, they may stay and disengage

We combat this by crafting an EX that speaks to this moment – that acknowledges where people are, what they’re feeling, what they need – and then delivers on those very needs.

So how do you do this?

If you’re a long-time reader (much gratitude!) then you may recognize our EX framework – beloved to us because it’s relevant to office-based, hybrid or remote cultures; in recessiony and non-recessiony times. It’s customizable to what your teams need in a moment or a season.

An EX that delivers the people-outcomes you need is an EX that creates the conditions in which people can:

4 Pillars | Deliver

“I am equipped to get my best work done. Expectations are clear. I work without obstruction or inefficiency.”

4 Pillars | Develop

“I am growing new skills and capabilities. I’m challenged and excited. I receive feedback, coaching and opportunity.”

4 Pillars | Connect

“I belong here. I feel purpose, part of a team and community. My ideas are welcome to be spoken. All questions are welcome.”

4 Pillars | Thrive

“My well-being matters. I’m recognized and appreciated. I set boundaries, manage my energy and feel respected.”

When your teams can deliver, develop, connect, and thrive then big outcomes happen, employees stay well and productive, and customers stay loyal and delighted.

So what might such an EX look like in recessiony times? What conditions should your leadership team be focused on creating right now, given the reality of the moment?

Here are some things we’ve been hearing in recent pulse check engagements:

  • Get goals as simple, crisp and aligned as possible so people are focused only on the critical few priorities, and they’re rowing together
  • Get people fully equipped with tools and systems they need
  • Make decisions as fast as possible — don’t be the bottleneck
  • Set up some peer coaching circles so your leaders are leveraging each other’s strengths and wisdom (we’ve got a free tool for you here!) to learn and problem-solve together
  • Give hungry talent a stretch opportunity — they may knock something huge out of the park!
  • Do as much planning and updating as possible via email — save “together” time for dialogue, debate and team building
  • Bring customers and their feedback to the forefront — keep everyone connected to the end user
  • Help team members find purpose in what they’re doing
  • Bring inclusive practices to the forefront — inviting many voices in many moments
  • Dial up wellness resources wherever possible (prioritize these over “mandatory” travel or parties)
  • Demonstrate regular recognition and appreciation — need not be monetary
  • Role model boundary-setting and honoring — make it safe and celebrated to do so

These are just a few representative practices our clients are finding luck with.

Want to codify and test a set of your own? Let us come in and deliver a talk or a workshop to your leadership team. Or heck – it’d be our honor to run a pulse check for you. Let your team tell you exactly what they need!

Happy hunting!