What Recovery?

Waiting for this economy to fire up has been a lot like waiting for the grass to grow during a major drought. Many casino operators and gaming equipment suppliers are battered and bruised after the last several years of recession fighting. We are all a bit battle weary. Very difficult decisions such as layoffs, cut backs and postponing initiatives have been made by the majority of companies and organizations involved in the business of gaming. These decisions take their toll on business owners and executives, but they also take their toll on front-line workers who, depending on the circumstances, have had to worry about their futures and the future of their company.

Within this statement lay two very important elements that should be understood and well managed. A STRONG relationship between upper-level management and front-line staff has never been needed more. Both sides need to be heard and understood. This point is key. Management needs to actively seek out the front-line staff members and meet with them in person with the entire purpose of the meeting to listen and to understand.

The other side of the equation is that upper-level management has been under enormous pressure throughout the last 24 months. The front-line staff also needs to understand this point. They might want to consider the impact of a letter stating that they understand what a difficult task the executive has had to deliver on, letting them know that they appreciate what they are doing and that they have their back.

Often there is a “great divide” between these two components necessary to run an organization well in the first place. This is not a good thing in the best of times, much less the worst of times. Both sides of this organizational coin need to be realistic as to why this defect exists in the first place. They also need to be willing to take risks in addressing it.

The reason it exists is not so simple. There is an inherent doubt that upper-level management understands what it’s like to live how the front-line worker does. The same is true in reverse. Both sides are immersed in what they do professionally and in their day-to-day lives. This is the mid-level managers’ razor’s edge to walk, but it can also be an opportunity to do well for their company and themselves.
And yes, this is the role of human resources, but it does not have to stay there completely. In these times this department has its hands full. Also, having what I have just mentioned be “facilitated” removes some of its authenticity. What I’m talking about is best done mano-a-mano.

The reason for all this is that keeping spirits up in this economy has become a difficult and often forgotten second full-time job but a critically important one. Still it’s times like these that are the catalyst for new ideas and innovation. When business is good, it’s more difficult to step out of the box and try new things, but now is the time and your rewards could be great.

As far as the recovery, yes we are in it. It’s just going to be a long, slow and difficult climb out. The economy will strengthen and decline over the next several years and our optimism and pessimism will fluctuate. Strengthening relations at our companies will do wonders for keeping our minds on track and preparing us for the next strongly positive business cycle.

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