This morning’s much-anticipated October Jobs Report reveals new jobless claims of 240,000, pushing national levels to 6.5 percent, a fourteen year high.
While many focus on what this means to those out searching for employment, they often overlook what such a number indicates about what is going on within our nation’s businesses.
Yes, some of those losses are white-collar ramifications due to the fallout on Wall Street.
And yes, some represent trimmed fat from overly obese manufacturing environments in industries whose American heydey ended with the rise and global reach of Asia.
But small business, which is to say most business, isn’t comprised of penny loafered, blow-dried, hot-shot MBA’s on Wall Street.
Small business doesn’t have eighteen people in a department that can be dismissed without anyone noticing they’re gone.
If a small business lays off one worker, that might be twenty-five percent of the department; in fact, it may be the whole department! And that doesn’t mean the work doesn’t still need to be done; it just means it needs to be done by someone else whose plate may already be full.
It also impacts our internal marketing efforts, and tests our leadership ability. When time is at a premium, the important often takes a backseat to the urgent. Innovation, exceptional customer service, process creation and optimization, relationship and team building, vision, strategy, and the like, all fall prey to the stress that comes with the “have-to’s” and “gotta-do’s” of a compressed schedule.
It also compromises the most powerful marketing assets that we have: our staff. When team members are stressed, they can stop functioning as a team. Stressed-out people don’t market well in their interactions with others; at work or away.
They are less patient with customers and each other. They miss opportunities. They take their challenges home with them at night, and relate them in great detail to anyone who will listen. They respond to their friends’ inquiry of “How’s it going?” by unloading the troubles of Monday thru Friday.
And do not miss this: the rise of social media provides an outlet that will magnify, positively or negatively, the experience of working for, or doing business with, your company.
1) Navigating today’s economic waters will test your leadership ability.
2) Great focus is required to keep the most important things the most important things, in an age of doing more with less.
3) Social media will positively or negatively change the way others perceive your business.