August 29, 2011
Written by: Synergy Resources
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a double-dip recession, but recent events have raised the specter again, even as many businesses—and consumers—are still recovering from the last one.
After several years learning how to do more with less, it may be time to consider what will happen if the worst does happen. In this uncertain economy, it’s important to keep as many employees in their jobs as possible—otherwise, you’re just part of the problem.
There are ways to cut payroll expenses without cutting jobs. Here are several tactics to consider in order to preserve “human capital”:
Hold the line on wage increases or consider asking everyone to accept lower pay—including yourself.
• Unless local minimum-wage legislation requires it, hold off on raises, even if they’ve been previously promised
• In this business climate, most employees will understand if you can’t give them a raise or even have to cut pay; it’s better than losing a job
Reduce total hours and/or the number of days worked per week.
• Investigate your state’s laws about how many hours a person must work in order to continue to qualify for healthcare insurance and other benefits
• In some cases, employees working reduced hours may be eligible for unemployment benefits to make up for the shortfall in income
• If possible, give your employees the choice whether to work fewer days or shorter hours spread out over the same number of days. This helps them adjust their new schedules to their own personal needs, such as taking care of family or going back to school part-time
Find ways to help employees be more productive when they’re at work.
• Develop sales contests and other promotions that encourage staff to build sales
• Engage employees in every way possible, by sharing information with them—good news and bad—and reiterating your commitment to staff members who are more productive
• Up the ante on customer training, and cross-train. Not only does this make for a better patron experience, but it also better positions staff members if it does become necessary for them to seek another job
• Don’t turn your back on incentive and recognition programs—in fact, they’re more important than ever now
Make a commitment to staff development. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it will help improve morale.
• Investigate online training or subsidized training opportunities that may be available in your state or town
• Allow employees to learn about your business—it will help them, or you
• Encourage reading, volunteering, attending local conferences and seminars, and anything else that will help your staff grow