Recession-Proof Playbook: Your Guide to Protecting Your Job & Government Affairs Team Amid Economic Uncertainty
by Lydia Stowe, FiscalNote
Follow this playbook to recession-proof your government affairs team during a time of economic uncertainty.
Worries about a recession are hard to escape, whether it’s at the gas pump or in the office. If concerns about an economic slowdown are causing panic in your organization, you’re not alone: 66 percent of Americans are worried that a major recession is right around the corner, up from 48 percent at this time last year, a survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America found.
If government affairs teams have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that being prepared for a crisis is essential — whether it’s a pandemic, global conflict, or economic downturn, being adaptable and flexible is a must. As organizations eye a potential recession, what can you do to recession-proof your job and your team?
If the worst-case scenario does happen, it’s important to be able to keep your cool and focus on mitigating risk and finding opportunities for your organization. Proving your ROI and reporting on the value of your work can protect you and your team while consolidating resources, reducing spending, and streamlining workflows are important strategies in preparing for a possible recession.
Here are five steps you can start taking today to recession-proof your job, government affairs team, and your organization as a whole.
Step 1: Prove Your ROI
Showing the value of your team, and your role, is critical when bracing for an economic downturn and making sure your team can withstand a recession. It’s important to have a way to visualize and report on your successes, and share them with key stakeholders so if difficult staffing decisions have to be made, your value and the ROI you provide your organization will be fresh in their minds.
Outline key legislative and regulatory issues you’re monitoring to demonstrate how you’re saving your organization time and money. With an influx of information to keep track of, missing a bill can be extremely costly.
“Your speed of data collection has to match at a minimum the speed with which the legislative or political process is moving,” says John Pournoor, former global head of government affairs at 3M. With the right technology, you can stay on top of the legislation and regulation that impact your team to find business opportunities and avoid risks.
Legislative tracking and policy monitoring software helps you cut through the noise and keep track of the policy that matters most to your organization, allowing you to understand, measure, and analyze the monetary value of your actions, and even show the potential costs had you not succeded.
Step 2: Consolidate Resources & Reduce Spending
If you don’t consolidate resources and find ways to cut spending, your finance team will almost certainly do so — but you might not like their decisions. Find ways to trim the fat, whether it’s tools you don’t often use, overpriced solutions, or using multiple resources when you could consolidate them into one.
One of the first places to start? Bundling and consolidating your policy monitoring and advocacy software. For government and public affairs professionals, combining subscriptions can unify various systems and data sets, help to align dispersed teams under one platform, and reduce vendor costs.
You can also consolidate all your policy, geopolitical, and market analysis sources. Instead of subscribing to multiple outlets to gain insights on the issues that affect your industry and organization the most, drill down and get your news, policy analysis, and market intelligence all in one place delivered straight to your inbox and desktop daily. In addition to saving money, you’ll also save time and energy.
Step 3: Streamline Workflows
Recession-proofing is all about being as efficient and streamlined as possible, so now is a great opportunity to tighten up your workflows. One way to build holistic reports is to visualize the policy and market trends that impact your organization, map stakeholders, and track engagements all in one report.
Another tactic is creating an online workspace and repository for your team to access so everything is in one place and the whole team is aligned. Take and share notes after meeting with stakeholders and document decisions and processes in a central place to give everyone on your team visibility.
“We keep copies of all of our correspondence: when we meet with folks, what we talked to them about, etc.,” said Brett Wilkinson, managing director for Dallas’ Office of Strategic Partnerships and Government Affairs. By documenting all aspects of your work and assigning responsibility and goals in one online place, you’ll be able to create a culture of seamless collaboration and transparency around your successes and improvement areas.
It’s important to get into the habit of placing relevant files, news articles, and links all in a single shared place your team can access from anywhere. Doing this will drive alignment and improve institutional knowledge should anyone in the team have to depart.
Step 4: Mitigate Risk
More than ever, during an economic downturn it’s vital to protect your organization from potential risks and threats that can damage the bottom line. Tracking key regulations and legislation can be a challenge for any company, so it’s important to arm yourself with solutions that meet your needs, power your decisions, and evolve with your priorities.
The right tools allow you to track the risks that matter to your organization and can provide timely personalized market intelligence. Fear of missing something related to legislation or regulation causes a lot of anxiety for government affairs professionals — causing the most anxiety in their day-to-day job for 46 percent of people, according to FiscalNote’s survey. In addition to intelligence, you need actionable insights that will recession-proof your organization and bring into focus the potential risks on the horizon so you can take action.
Sixty percent of government affairs professionals say the number of public policy issues their organization is following has increased in the last year, making it more difficult to stay on top of everything that could impact your organization. Having the right technology in place can have your back, allowing you to identify, monitor, and mitigate threats.
Step 5: Update Objectives & Goals
During times of uncertainty and change, your organization and team’s objectives might change. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable when new opportunities arise and unknown challenges loom. Analyze your team’s current goals and consider whether they need to be restructured to align with changes the recession may bring.
For example, if your team anticipates an impact on revenue because of an economic slowdown and other global factors, or if budget concerns and potential layoffs are a factor in your organization, you may implement new objectives that reflect and safeguard against these financial concerns.
Reevaluating your government affairs team’s objectives and goals can be a valuable time of reflection to pause and ensure you are effectively managing budget, team members, and growth strategies and to ensure your priorities align with the larger organization’s.
Stay Ahead of the Curve and Recession-Proof Your Government Affairs Strategy with FiscalNote
During a time of economic uncertainty and constant upheaval, having the right tools is more critical than ever. In this fast-paced world, you can’t show tangible results — which are the only thing that matters in the end — without the right technology.
FiscalNote’s suite of products has all the solutions you need to prove the value of your team, reduce spending, streamline workflows, and mitigate risk with policy monitoring, stakeholder management, advocacy, and collaboration tools. FiscalNote’s solutions give you the 360-degree approach you need to build and report on your government affairs strategy as you recession-proof your team.
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