When the economy is going through a bumpy period, companies often need to make tough choices to stay solvent. Four employers show how they’re doing it without resorting to deep cuts that kill employee morale and often make things worse.
First, though, most recommend that you tell employees why it’s belt-tightening time. Most of them know anyway, but they still won’t like it when new, tougher measures get dropped on top of them without explanation.
After explaining, here’s what the four employers did, as reported in the Los Angeles Times:
- When Pro-Temp Inc., a cooling and refrigeration service company, hit its worst slowdown in eight years, the company’s owner started by replacing the formal holiday dinner with a pizza lunch. Then he cut employees hours, but saved people from drastic cuts by cross-training them to do work most of them had been unfamiliar with. For instance, some office personnel learned to do low-level maintenance on company vehicles. So when the action is slow in the back office, those people can switch over to maintenance – and avoid missing a day without pay.
- Hewlett-Packard has avoided layoffs in the past by using a ”nine-day fortnight” policy that requires workers to take off every other Friday without compensation. So, yes, there’s a pay cut, but employees also at least get the benefit of an extra day off every two weeks.
- The City of Birmingham began offering the option of a staggered four-day workweek for more most of its employees to save on fuel costs and buffer against layoffs.
- And on Aug. 4, Utah will become the first state to mandate a four-day week for most workers, with an expected 20 percent savings in energy costs once buildings are closed on Fridays.