Unless you’ve been avoiding the news (which is tempting these days) you know that many pundits are predicting that we are headed toward a recession. In the past, a recession typically meant that companies would be cutting expenses, freezing hiring, and laying off employees.
But these are different times.
If we’ve learned anything from what we experienced during COVID over the past two years, letting go of employees – their company experience and knowledge – may not be the best solution. Consider that many employees who lost their jobs at the beginning of COVID decided not to return to them. Others just quit to seek better opportunities elsewhere as the job market came roaring back. And some Baby Boomers decided to just permanently retire.
So how do you “recession-proof” your workforce, that is, keep them motivated and onboard while minimizing the need to make reductions?
Here are some tips:
Conduct a business analysis to determine where you can improve efficiency and where you can make adjustments to use your employee resources more effectively.
Consider alternatives to laying people off, such as furloughs and/or job sharing:
Furloughs are temporary – the employee works a reduced schedule – and allow employees to stay connected to the organization. They also often include continued benefits. The employee can apply for unemployment for the time reduced from their regular schedule.
Job sharing, as its name suggests, is when two people share the work hours of one position, for example one working the job in the morning and one in the afternoon. As with furloughs, this option helps employees stay connected to the company, keep their benefits, and apply for unemployment for the work hours missed.
Communicate, and involve employees in your recession strategies. Retaining employees during the hard times has a lot to do with the trust and relationship you’ve developed with them during the good times. A trusting relationship begins with open, honest communication. Be honest about the challenges the organization is facing and communicate your plans to overcome them. Give employees the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts.
Stay tuned for part two of this topic. Next time we’ll talk about another recession-proofing strategy – cross training.