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Maintaining employee confidence during a consumer crisis

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When your company unwittingly collides into a customer crisis as top retailers have with the shopper data breach -- it is just as important to reinforce and solidify employee confidence as it is for your customers.

Kimberly Abel is VP of Employee Solutions at Maritz Motivation Solutions, which provides leadership and multiple solutions to help companies drive engagement, greater performance and increased productivity. Ms. Abel offered her insights and best tips for companies looking to strengthen their workforce of brand ambassadors during a crisis of consumer/customer confidence.

1. Get real & communicate. If the newspapers are reporting it -- then you can't pretend it isn't happening but you can control the rumors and reduce the anxiety. Tell the truth by making sure your entire workforce knows the magnitude of what took place, who was impacted, and what other fallout may still lie ahead. But most importantly, share the company’s response and outline specifically what you are going to do about it so they can feel confident and support the messaging and process.

2. Show appreciation and recognize employee efforts. During sensitive times, your company is under even greater scrutiny by customers. Now, more than ever, it’s important that employees are serving customers in ways that support your brand and message. Small secondary slips are magnified when customers have already had or heard about challenges in the media. Consider empowering employees to go the extra mile to serve and support your customers. Your employees are under stress too, so be sure to show appreciation when they step up and deliver a great service experience. Recognizing employee efforts will go a long way to anchoring these behaviors and making employees feel a valued part of the solution.

3. Move Forward. Show your employees that you are in this for the long haul and you will get beyond today. Share future plans for the addressing where the business is going and how it will evolve. Few things engage hearts and minds like an exciting future to buy into and talk about.

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