It seems of late, perhaps more than ever, I have been having more and more conversations with employees in companies who are growing more dissatisfied with their working conditions.

My natural response would be, "Hey, you should be grateful that you have a job." But that would be a little insensitive. Although, I agree we need to grateful at all times.

Facts is during trying times people feel more pressure, tempers flair and we tend to be overly sensitive. As business owners we certainly feel this way from time to time. As do our people.

Granted the cold hard facts in some business require letting some people go in response to decreased revenue. Now is a golden opportunity, however, to take a tough situations and turn lemons into lemonade as they say.

More than ever we need to be engaging in conversations with our people. We need to mentor them. Invest in them. Show them they are valuable.

When your people are worried and stressed they simply don't performance as well.

Begin with some very basic conversation centered on job security. Be honest. Help empower them to be even more productive in the business by providing them specific and tangible objectives that enhance their value.

You might say something like, "I realize you might have some concerns about your job security. Many people do right now. In these challenging times all of us need to be as productive and efficient as possible. Here are some specific area that I would like you to focus on to add even greater value to the company. [now give them specific, value producing goals] It is our goal to continue to provide a great work opportunity and environment for everyone and so all our jobs are secure."

"Know that I am having this conversation with everyone. At this point your job is NOT at risk. I promise that I will be very communicative with you so if there is ever a time where that might change, I will let you know."

Obviously, you will weave this conversation to fit your style. The primary result is to get the topic of job security and certainty out on the table.

Great business leaders are not afraid to exposure the big pink elephant in the room that nobody is talking about.