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This is a difficult area to mentor companies through. I can’t tell you what is right or wrong because I don’t think any company, no matter how profit driven, takes this situation lightly. I am sure the ideas I am about to present are things you have already thought of, but I wanted to share some alternatives we have used in the past to avoid layoffs. On several occasions, I have worked with my competitors to share employees. Just because you are slow doesn’t mean your competitors are. It takes a handshake to ensure your employees are not stolen, and that is not to say the employee will want to come back after your business returns to normal, but I have reached agreements with

Reducing hours is my preference instead of reducing wages. Often companies reduce wages and then “forget” to increase them at the right time. both competitors and employees allowing them to continue working with the end goal of returning to work for me. I have also taken in employees, under the same circumstance. Companies may be competitors, but we all value our employees and these types of arrangements can be made. The key to this arrangement is total openness and honesty about the situation. It will take a leap of faith or trust, but I have seen this work incredibly well and have not experienced any issues as a result. Reducing hours is my preference instead of reducing wages. Often companies reduce wages and then “forget” to increase them at the right time. When business picks up and an employee’s wage is still reduced, it can affect company morale immediately and can have an impact on your corporate culture. Also, it is paramount when work returns to normal, that you celebrate and profusely thank your entire staff. I mean you have

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OilfieldPULSE | FEBRUARY 2015

to go over the top – a simple handshake will not do the trick. Companies often get right back into the swing of things and forget to sincerely and deeply acknowledge those who sacrificed their incomes. If this is set up right, the people affected end up with a 4-day work week and in extreme cases a 3-day work week. There is potential risk, because the person will probably look for another job, but if you speak with your staff, you will probably find a percentage will be financially able to reduce hours in this way and may even be very happy with this type of arrangement. It takes knowing or getting to know your people to make this work best. Helping them find another job before you lay them off. WHAT??? I know - that just seems insane, and this will not work if you need to lay-off a lot of people. I get that you’re not an employment agency. What I can guarantee you is if you help your employees to this degree, you will certainly lose some. I mean that is the intention, right? Let me say when things turn around and when your ad goes back in the paper, don’t be surprised to find how loyal people are to your company when you go to great lengths to ensure their financial safety. I have only done this for a few key employees and those people still work for me today. I didn’t have to lure them back. In the end, they came to me. I didn’t have to seek them out. Alberta is getting beaten up a bit in the media right now. It seems as if we are expected to take it on the chin. Our companies are resilient and deeply rooted in our communities. I have lived here my entire life and I have seen this economic cycle many times. Each time it feels as if it will last forever and inevitably the economy comes around. The world envies us, which is why they love to take a swing at us whenever they get the chance. This is the strongest province in Canada and the best place in the world to live if you are an everyday average Joe/ Joanne. I wish you all the best in your endeavours to get through what will amount to a blip on the radar screen when we look back and reminisce. Don’t let the media get you down. T.J. Ross TIHEM CONSULTING TIHEM.INFO@GMAIL.COM

Oilfield PULSE February 2015  
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