How to light the way for your team through uncertainty

How to light the way for your team through uncertainty

 Every business is faced with uncertainty throughout its lifetime. From financial insecurity to an unexpected global pandemic, there’s no avoiding uncertainty as a business. At Pierlite, we are no strangers to uncertainty; just recently, we underwent an exciting acquisition that has put the company through countless changes. Despite the rising uncertainty faced by our business, we’ve come out of it stronger and more resilient than ever before. How did we do it? It comes down to two factors – investing in our team’s feelings and guiding our team through clear performance metrics. 

 Managing your team’s feelings and spirits through uncertainty

 “Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders – in that order.” 

–      Simon Sinek

 When uncertainty arises in business, many leaders focus primarily on the corporate side of things, such as securing finances, maintaining a public brand image, and managing business relations. While this is all crucial to the success of a business, it is vital that leaders do not disregard their employees during uncertainty.

 When Pierlite started discussing our transition to a new owner, there were understandably a lot of questions, concerns, and thoughts from our team. Everyone had different considerations weighing on their mind, varying from “will my salary change?”, “will I keep my position and title?”, and “are we moving to an office further from my house?”. You may think that these are the employees’ personal problems, not the company’s. However, that could not be further from the truth. 

 I believe that a strong leader addresses the worries and feelings of their employees as both a human responsibility and a business strategy. As friends, colleagues, and humans, we need to listen to each other’s concerns and thoughts in an effort to provide support and comfort. Not only this, but when your team is feeling unhappy and insecure in the company, your business performance also suffers.

 As I mentioned in my last article, happy workers are more productive and more motivated. Studies also show that happy employees lead to happy customers, with there being a “clear link between employee and customer satisfaction”. Therefore, maintaining employee morale and mitigating concerns and stress during uncertain times is essential to keeping your business functioning effectively. How does Pierlite do this so well? Through our investment in our employees’ feelings. 

 “The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel.” 

–       Sybil F. Stershic 

 Pierlite is committed to creating an environment that encourages people to have open discussions with anyone in the team, including managers and executives. We also invest in professional coaches that nurture the team’s wellbeing, happiness, and mental health to provide support for people’s emotional and behavioural struggles. This allows our workplace to be an open space for people to voice their struggles, enabling us to address any issues and help our team feel happy and supported more effectively. 

 Transparency and communication are also indispensable during times of uncertainty. If your employees are kept in the loop and aware of any updates, good or bad, their uncertainty is alleviated. Throughout Pierlite’s transition to a new owner, virtually every employee agreed that the best part of the journey was Pierlite’s transparency and commitment to communicating everything that was happening. The results? Team alignment, boosted morale, trust, and the feeling of being valued. The uncertainty our business faced became an opportunity to build an even stronger team because we actively invested resources into addressing our employees’ feelings. 

 Countering uncertainty through performance metrics 

 “The idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count, like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.” 

–      Bill Gates 

 One of the best strategies for mitigating uncertainty is by providing your employees with certainty where possible. At Pierlite, we do this by ensuring the metrics we use to measure success are clearly understood by our team, allowing them to maintain a strong sense of purpose and direction. 

 A McKinsey study found that 70% of employees say their sense of purpose is defined by their work. Therefore, if your employees lack purpose at work, they may soon feel directionless and unimportant in their role, leading to resignations and poor performance. Having clear, structured performance metrics counteract the risk of your employees losing their sense of purpose. Measurements of success, such as sales targets, incentive metrics, and customer satisfaction, need to be well-documented and delivered to your team to give them guideposts through uncertain periods. 

 Once performance metrics are understood by your team, leaders must ensure they deliver on their promises and stay connected to their employees. During Pierlite’s transition period to our new parent company, I applied myself to always be the best person I could be – this approach helped me support my team and deliver on my promises to them. To me, it was a small sacrifice to make to be there for my team when they needed me and to maintain the trust they have in me. 

 “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

–      Henry Ford

 Regardless of what the business is going through, I stay fully connected to the organisation by frequently interacting with as many departments as I can, whether it’s our warehouse workers or office team. Not only does this boost team engagement, but also reminds them that we are invested in them and value their contribution to the company. Despite any uncertainty, we continue to stay connected as a team and work together to plough forward. Uncertainty can seem like murky waters but so long as your team is collectively rowing the boat in the same direction, you can navigate the journey forward together.

 Another way to maintain performance is to simply ask your team if they want to contribute and make a difference. You’ll be surprised how many employees put their hands up to take on new responsibilities because they are eager to make meaningful contributions. Our job as leaders is to enable the wider team to contribute to the company’s success through times of uncertainty by providing opportunities where they can step up if desired. When leaders facilitate an environment that allows individuals to perform at their highest as opposed to blocking their potential, the company wins. 


 Throughout any uncertain journey, there’s always one thing Pierlite and our team understand for certain – our values of kindness, passion, authenticity, and courage. No matter what we’re going through, our values underpin all of our actions and keep our team aligned and inspired. Having a values-based organisation will provide guidance and clarity to help you thrive, regardless of the uncertainties you experience. Remember, it’s ok to feel stressed or scared in uncertain times. Your employees are only human. 

 What experiences have you had with uncertainty? How did you overcome it? Tell me in the comments below!