Due to the sudden economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are seeking out ways to cut costs. Out of which, employee layoff has also become one option. But before doing this, companies should consider how it will affect them in the long run. Instead, companies should find creative alternatives to layoffs to keep the business afloat.
Here are some alternatives that businesses can consider:
- Ask employees for ideas: Ask for suggestions from staff about how to cut costs and improve the productivity of the organization. Getting employees involved can ease insecurity and promote solidarity, even if what you save doesn’t meet your shortfall expectations. By this, employees will also feel valued as their suggestions will be heard.
- Hiring freeze: Some companies deploy mass lay-offs but are still placing job postings at the same time. This way, they are getting rid of valuable human capital to save money while bringing new employees at low salaries. It should be avoided, as retaining employees cost less than to replace them. Consider a hiring freeze as an alternative to layoffs.
- Slight salary cuts: Explain everyone across the board that salary cut is the need of the hour. The reduction should be such, that it won’t completely shatter employees’ finances, but also give the business a bit of a financial break.
- Work from home programs: Keeping employees at the workspace costs money. People consume water, electricity, office supplies, and other facilities. Sending workers home can cut costs to a large extent without dumping them.
- Cut part-time staff and contractors: If crises are bigger, it’s legally easier and cheaper to end the employment of contractors and part-time workers. One can always rehire if necessary. Instead of using costly temps, consider rehiring retired employees that already know your business, to fill gaps.
- Reduce employee benefits: Cut employee benefit plans and policies like medical or dental, 401(k) plans, insurance plans, leaves, and other fringe benefit policies.
- Offer extra days of unpaid leave: On this most of the employees will agree, as it would be like a vacation time although unpaid.
- Institute shorter workweeks: Reduce the number of working hours of the employees and proportionally decrease pay. This can be considered as a seasonal arrangement for slow periods. Shorter workweeks can cut costs by a significant margin.
- Focus on Efficiency: Find out ways on how things can be done faster, less expensively, and more productively? Where can cash be saved? How to encourage staff to become more efficient in their jobs?
Are layoffs necessary sometimes? Yes, but they should be a last resort instead of a front-line option. It’s better to lay off some of the employees than to lose the business. But one should make sure, it is not the go-to solution when the business starts to slip into the red.
When a person is described with the word ‘intelligent’, what usually comes to our mind is high IQ, ‘he must do well in his subjects’ or ‘he must be good at math. What if I told you that having just a high IQ isn’t enough to become successful? Most people think that people who are good at studies or those who get good grades will do well in life but not every topper has an exceptional career – shining stars of a workplace could be average scoring students. The concept of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is relatively new but very effective for one’s career if he or she is able to master it.
Daniel Goleman popularized the term ‘emotional intelligence’ by authoring a book with the same name in 1996, defined it as ‘the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.’ The five components of emotional intelligence that an individual should familiarise himself with are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
The ability to identify your emotions towards a particular person or a situation is called self-awareness and it forms the basis for the other higher level components. If one can accurately assess what he is feeling, it can be said that he knows himself from inside-out. Such an individual would also know his strengths and weaknesses and his emotional sensitivity towards different topics. Just knowing what you are feeling can help you control your expressions and actions to some extent. For an instance, if you don’t get a promotion you have been waiting for, as an emotionally unaware individual, you could be angry and make an impulsive decision of quitting the job. However, you could have a more positive outlook and try to improve yourself and work on what you are lacking. The latter would certainly be more beneficial for you.
Motivation is the drive that keeps one going and makes efforts to achieve his goals. To remain self-motivated, one must have a burning urge to reach the level of excellence and it should not be driven by mere external rewards like pay rise or promotion but own satisfaction. The goals that one is working towards should not intersect with organisational goals to avoid conflict of interest and inefficiency in turn. To cease every opportunity that one comes across and overcome any obstacle or setback with an optimistic approach are also qualities of self-motivated individuals.
Empathising with someone is the awareness of someone else’s feelings. To understand people and what makes them do what they do, recognizing their emotions is one of the most important and basic things and it even helps a person in regulating his behaviour towards the people that he is trying to understand. It is not easy and it cannot surely be accurate but it is something worth trying. A person can only fulfill the needs of customers and exceed the expectations of people if he is empathetic enough to recognise them.
Social skills, like the name suggests, are the ways in which a person interacts with the people that are surrounding him in both his work and personal life. The kind of relationships that he has with people is only a result of his social skills. Social skills make a person influential and good at communicating his ideas such that an individual can both lead and work as a member of a team effectively. The person is not only able to initiate and drive change if he wants to but also resolve conflict or disagreement that arises due to the change.