Your reputation is more important than ever
People will remember how you acted in a time of crisis. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to present a mature, composed front to your members and your local community—even if you’re freaking out on the inside. This guidance includes public statements and actions you and your club make on social media, in the press, via email and in person.
Avoid making jokes about a situation that risks the livelihoods and lives of those in your community. You should also avoid overtly political statements if possible. Follow government mandates. If your state or local authorities issue shelter-in-place orders, limit gathering sizes or require you to close your club, you should follow those mandates.
Your reputation also extends to your relationships with your employees and any independent-contractor workforce in your club. If you push employees to show up to work in defiance of government mandates, you may cause irreparable harm to your relationship with those employees, and also harm your club’s standing in the community.
If you make hasty personnel decisions, such as laying off much of your workforce, you may risk your good relationship with those employees when you might need them to return to work in the future. However, you may have no choice but to lay off employees if it’s the best way to allow them to claim enhanced unemployment benefits during the shutdown.
Give your employees the best chance to collect unemployment or other benefits, while making it clear to them that their jobs will be available when the crisis ends. Communicate with your team to understand their concerns and help them cope with the sudden change in everyone’s financial situation as best as you can.
Whatever happens, don’t lose sight of your humanity, or the humanity of your employees and members. Everyone’s having a tough time right now. Remember, empathy creates loyalty, so stay open to the concerns and challenges of those around you.
Tim Bainton is the Managing Partner of Blue Chip Sports Management.
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