A crisis—whether personal, local, or national in scope—offers an important opportunity for a small business owner to demonstrate his or her leadership to employees.  The keys here are thoughtfulness, timeliness, and communication.  Consider these tips when responding to a crisis situation: 

  1. Timing is important.  Generally speaking, the sooner you reach out, the better.  Ultimately, however, reaching out to affected employees at any point down the road is preferable than doing nothing.
  2. The form of communication is important.  While every person and situation is different, focus on more direct and personal forms of communication—one-on-one conversations, phone calls, and handwritten letters will have more impact than an email or a generic notice posted in the employee lounge.
  3. Be intentional and empathetic in communicating individually with those you suspect may be most affected in a particular situation, and then initiate a conversation on a groupwide basis.

By approaching difficult situations with sincerity and promoting a culture of empathy and open communication, you will go a long way toward building a work environment poised to attract and retain a talented and loyal team. 

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