After dealing with months of layoffs, pay cuts and worries, employees are stressed out and in need of … something … from you.

As you keep the bottom line from slipping into the red, there are steps you can take that will improve morale, relieve stress and not cost anything.

Consider these moves made by various bosses quoted in INC and The Wall Street Journal. One or more could position you to move forward as business improves.

  • Upgrade job titles even if you can’t pay more or can only make a token increase in pay. Several of your workers could be called “manager” or “director” of some facet of your print shop.

    It’s especially appreciated by people who were out of the workforce for a time before you hired them. They can visualize the title showing up on future resumes. They will, however, probably want to stay with your company, where they already have an important job.

  • Let people work from home wherever possible. This is a stretch for your shop personnel, but office staff and desktop people can effectively do this with the right tools. They will appreciate setting their own hours, be they day or night. Working remotely gives them the autonomy that many people like. It makes them feel like entrepreneurs.
  • Create a bonus plan in lieu of pay raises. It could be tied to the amount of revenue they generate for the company.
  • Hold weekly meetings where they can talk about their jobs. Let them make suggestions and voice complaints about issues you may not be aware of but that you could deal with. One boss met with employees individually. The more he listened, the better they felt.

    Let them be part of the solution, how to increase business and cut costs.

  • Make a road map to company progress and share it with your people. Present a detailed plan you will execute over the next few months and in the coming year. Reinforce the company’s vision.

As one boss says, when people are focused on surviving, they forget that the end goal is thriving.

Always be frank about current circumstances, but demonstrate a positive view of the future. You know it’s coming even if you don’t know just when that thriving future will arrive.

Joe Kern  is the Marketing and Customer Care Manager at PagePath Technologies. PagePath was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Plano, Illinois. PagePath’s MyOrderDesk is an eCommerce solution that combines, Web-to-Print, automated proofing, pricing, reordering and more. It seamlessly integrates into a printing organization’s existing website or can be used as a standalone site. MyOrderDesk is known throughout the printing industry as the leader in Web-to-Print software.