When you must get tough with your talent, be it from their fault or not (pay cuts due to business slow down), give the road map back to good standing or you destroy morale.

These are indeed hard times. Most entities are suffering budget cuts. Management looks at poor performers first, and then the staff at large.

If it’s time to impose discipline on an employee, don’t just point to fault, show them the way out of trouble. Be specific. Explain what needs to be corrected and define what the standard is in real terms that will get them back into the good grace of management.

Should the organization be forced to impose across the board cuts, tell the staff what needs to happen in order to reinstate what was cut.

For example, if everyone must take an extra unpaid day off per week “until business picks up”, define what “picks up” means. Tell them, when the sales are back to $450,000 per month or more for 6 consecutive months, we’ll eliminate the unpaid day off.

Without giving a definition of the road back, you cut without giving hope. These are lives you are disrupting, not ‘expense items’. When people lose hope, they lose interest. What’s the motivation to improve if there is no way back to where I was?

Finally, you, management, have a responsibility to make it possible to achieve the results needed to get back.

Remember, you are impacting lives.

Chris Reich, TeachU.com