Keeping employee spirits up in a downturn

| Print |  Email
Monday, December 01, 2008

It’s not often the relocation of a business to a smaller office space is credited for improving employee morale.

But when Rose City Mortgage Specialists in Portland did just that in October, it helped reduce the overhead costs of a company in the hard-hit real estate industry. “[Employees] feel like at least we are not going out of business,” says Renee Spears, president and CEO of the company.

Understandably, many workers are worried about the health of the economy, their 401k plans and job security. Maintaining a positive spirit in the workplace during a recession can be challenging.

Business and human resource leaders agree that transparency is one way to maintain employee morale in tough times. As daring as it might sound to share financial information on the well-being of your company, the more an employee knows the more empowered they feel.

“Employees need to know if we are making money or not making money,” says Ken Madden, a vice president at Madden Industrial Craftsmen, a private industrial and construction staffing firm in Beaverton.

The notion of a private company opening up its books to employees is relatively new, but one that is increasingly necessary and justifiable, says Madden.

There are always the standby employee-recognition programs and gift-card giveaways, though ongoing communication by top executives and seeking employee input on ways to deal with some budget issues are the most effective, says Tom Kelly, a senior vice president at the HR and management consulting firm Ameriben Solutions/IEC Group in Portland. The company’s chief financial officer recently sent an email to 220 employees explaining the firm’s financial status.

To reduce stress at the workplace, once a week Spears holds a yoga session with an instructor at the office for employees. To cut transportation costs and the stress of commuting, each employee is allowed to work from home one day a week.

Heading a small company, Spears knows when morale is waning with one of her 15 employees. When one of her loan officers was having a difficult day and feeling low, Spears gave the agent the day off and offered personal words of encouragement.

Madden also knows he can’t survive the downturn with bummed-out employees. So he gives out Portland Blazer tickets to employees, one of the hottest seats in town.                                       


JASON SHUFFLER

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

More Articles

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

Opening soon: 3 of the coolest new breweries in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, March 19, 2015
brewthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are 278 companies licensed to operate as brewery, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here are three new beer-making hubs slated to open soon.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS