Why Employee Goodwill Matters Even More in an Emergency

April 22, 2020 | 971 views

Why Employee Goodwill Matters Even More in an Emergency
Why Employee Goodwill Matters Even More in an Emergency

Traditionally, goodwill refers to the intangible assets of the company. It could mean the value of a logo or brand, or the hard work an owner has put into building a company. A good reputation is something of value, for example, as are exceptional employees. Goodwill is easily recognized when a company’s asset value is x, but the company assets are sold for a higher amount, y. The difference is goodwill – the perceived value of the company is higher because of intangible good things that improve its value.

One asset that can improve a company’s value is its employees. When business is chugging along like normal, we work to train, staff, schedule and develop our employees to bring greater success to them and our businesses. Their high levels of productivity and willingness to make our businesses successful are employee goodwill. Employee goodwill can make the difference between us and our competitors. If our high-quality employees differentiate us, then they are assets to protect so that we are successful.

Now, however, unprecedented numbers of employees are involuntarily suspended from working. The economics of our current medical crisis will have a debilitating effect on tens of thousands of small businesses. Because getting through the next several weeks or months will be challenging for most, maintaining employee goodwill is especially important during this crisis.  When a “non-essential” storefront is ready to reopen, those pre-qualified, pre-trained, prior employees will be extra valuable at getting business volume back up to pre-pandemic values. We want their skills back with us as soon as possible to recover as quickly as possible.

Maintain Employee Goodwill, Even If The Employees Aren’t Around

If you have recognized your employee goodwill levels in the past, the current hiatus from business-as-usual means you need to maintain it until everyone gets back to work. In times of crisis, people can be very loyal to those who helped alleviate some of their concerns. Here are several free or low-cost ideas that could help keep your at-home employees ready to assist you when the time comes:

  1. Stay a community. “Social distancing” is the wrong term, really. We must stay in touch (figuratively) as we remain physically separated. Reach out, create group messages, keep them informed with honesty and candor. And let them know you want them back asap.
  2. Ask for their ideas. You may discover good ideas and additional attributes that add to your goodwill. Value what people have to say.
  3. Share resources. As a community, we have most of what we need somewhere. Home-schooling ideas, extra flour for baking, and that coveted toilet paper, are probably available within a group. Create an environment of support that will alleviate daily concerns about such things.
  4. Retrain and redeploy. If there is a way to shift what your company does to continue revenue income, do it. Non-essential medical services, for example, are shifting to more critical needs. And we’ve seen flexible restaurants offer home meal delivery and busboys become drivers. Think outside the box.
  5. Offer online training. Furloughed or laid-off employees will want to get to return to work quickly too, so keep them sharp by investing in their skill development.

Today, goodwill looks a bit different than it did in February, but it can still be maintained if you communicate. A steady force will counter uncertainty, and appreciative employees will add even more goodwill assets to your business as you recover.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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