One of the aspects that surprised me a lot during my visits to various Latin American countries in the middle of the first decade of this century, was the change in the way managers used to refer to company personnel. They were no longer called employees but teammates.
This trend coincided with the wave of satisfaction or engagement surveys. Companies were fighting to appear in those rankings, the words engagement, culture, diversity, principles began to be part of the CEOS agendas and not just HR’s. The phrase ‘people first’ became part of the speeches of the professional and business communities.
Of course, it is easier to practice these concepts in abundance than in scarcity, in success than in hard times. It is in hard times that principles, values, and purpose are really put to the test.
The question today is, how many companies in those coveted rankings of the best places to work until a month ago can do a survey now where their employees may recognize the efforts and support from the company: in times where layoffs or rumors might be in the ears of many.
It is clear that you cannot be the most beloved broken company in the world. Without company everyone loses. Not all companies in the world can make a statement like the CEO of Chubb committing to no layoffs during 2019. Its employees will appreciate its meaning emotionally and financially when the balance is made: ‘you were there when I needed you’ even if profits aren’t that high this year.
How then to keep that partnership spirit in a circumstance like the current one where the survival of the company might be put on the table and how to maintain the reputation and image with the least possible damage. Here I share some thoughts: