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Alternatives to Layoffs—Good For Everyone! Relocation on your own terms made decorations and forget can be a great thing. Actually, about having fancy, expensive relocation—even if it isn’t at festivities. Instead of providing your instigation—can still be catered hot meals at meetings, a good thing. However, it may cutting down to just coffee and take you a bit longer to warm up water can add up to a considerto the idea! able savings over time. If your Unfortunately, these days company is experiencing rising many people are suddenly findpaper costs, consider “going ing themselves having to regreen” by distributing inforlocate to new jobs and/or new mation through e-mails or an situations as companies grapple electronic “share-point.” with the economy and reorgaNancy Chaffin, Vice President nize in an effort to adjust to new of Human Resources at The Baworkplace realities. However, By Holly Culhane, SPHR kersfield Californian, says, “We this may actually be an opportuasked our employees to submit nity for businesses to streamline their operations ideas for cost cutting in a series of employee and become more efficient without necessarily meetings and communications. We received an downsizing indiscriminately. New challenges, incredibly positive response of ingenious costwhile painful and disheartening at the outset, cutting and revenue-generating ideas, as well as can evolve into positive opportunities for as- suggestions to increase operational efficiencies. sociations, as well as for the persons affected A number of these ideas were implemented imwithin that organization. Often companies, mediately and others are still being evaluated. and individuals, prove their resiliency and find While we ultimately decided to decrease our powerful reserves of determination never before workforce, we started with a voluntary buyout realized, managing to transform a negative situ- program allowing employees to make their ation into a positive direction for the future. own personal and professional choices. We also Actually, experts caution companies to con- implemented temporary across-the-board pay sider all other options first, resorting to layoffs cuts and suspension of 401(k) contributions. All only as a last option. According to the article employees, not just managers, actively scrutinize “Some Companies Stay Firm to No-Layoffs expenses and look for alternatives.” Pledge” in a January 2009 NPR story, longChaffin continued, “Many of our employees term, consistently successful companies tend are facing the challenge by learning new jobs to explore other options in tough economies and taking on expanded roles. Despite the chaland preserve their workforce, with some lenges of the current economy, we have expericompanies even implementing “no-layoffs enced a heightened sense of creativity, ingenupledges.” Leadership at these organizations cite ity, inspiration, and business knowledge.” a number of reasons for the policy, including Most companies fighting to retain employees fairness, long-term goals, and consistency to and avoid layoffs altogether cite re-training of customers. They offer a number of other op- employees as an excellent tool and a “win-win” tions to layoffs, including such things as early for everyone. Workers who are open to stepretirement packages, hiring freezes, four-day ping outside their comfort zone and learning workweeks, unpaid vacations, forced shutdowns new skills suddenly increase their value as an during holidays (a particularly popular idea employee, while allowing the organization to with many employees), temporary freezing of redistribute the workforce as necessary to main401ks, and the ever-so-important retraining for tain customer service and company integrity. Is other company positions. this easy and comfortable? Certainly not, but the Do these options impact employees? You bet! benefits are substantial—for both the company Obviously income may be decreased somewhat, and the individuals involved. but the savings is distributed fairly and all emLaurie Bienstock of Watson Wyatt says in the ployees who want to remain employed by the aforementioned NPR story, “although avoidcompany may do so. Although there may be ing layoffs is humane, it’s not really done out a financial hit, there are also some significant of pure corporate altruism. It can save money side benefits such as the ability to spend holiday because hiring new talent is three times more extime and/or extra vacation time with family and pensive than retaining veterans and an existing friends. Of course the most important result of workforce is extremely valuable. Additionally, these options is a sense of loyalty all company sustaining the payroll even when it’s painful members feel as, again, “fairness” is considered ensures continuity with customer service.” and everyone is treated as a valuable associate So, if you’re contemplating layoffs—think and an integral part of the team. again. It may not be in the interest of the comAdditional cost savings can be realized when pany, and it definitely is not going to benefit the organizations reduce or eliminate travel, ca- employees, including both those directly and tered meetings, and/or elaborate celebrations. indirectly involved. Not that celebrations aren’t important, but they can be done simply with a minimum of cost. Contact Holly Culhane of PAS Associates for Consider having a potluck with simple, hand- your human resource needs, (661) 631-2165.

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Bakersfield Magazine - Fall 2009 119

Bakersfield Magazine • 26-4 • The COOL Issue  

These are the hippest, grooviest, and funkiest things about our city you’ve probably never heard of. So put on your darkest shades and prepa...

Bakersfield Magazine • 26-4 • The COOL Issue  

These are the hippest, grooviest, and funkiest things about our city you’ve probably never heard of. So put on your darkest shades and prepa...