Redundancies, retrenchments, layoffs are more often the result of pressure from the Executive or Board to reduce costs than from the business having less work to do.
Reducing workforce costs through effecting layoffs is a very quick and short-term means to immediately and radically lower expenses.
However, by all means, it is not the only way.
Unquantifiable costs to a business from layoffs
What is often not understood by those looking at the ‘hard numbers’ is that by advocating layoffs, whether redundancies or retrenchments, the loss of people from your workforce has enormous implications and can weaken the business in the medium to longer term.
Before going down the layoff route, consider the following costs to the business, which are qualitative in nature and are harder to quantify than a hard-dollar payroll reduction.
Consider these examples:
- the loss of corporate memory;
- the loss of know-how;
- the loss of capability;
- the loss of morale;
- the loss of productivity;
- the loss of engagement;
- the loss of reputation;
- the loss of succession;
- the loss of team cohesiveness.
Knowing this, the Human Resources leader must raise these potential losses and encourage that the leadership team looks at other ways of reducing cost and saving jobs.
Options to redundancies, retrenchments and layoffs as a strategy to reduce costs
Here are some options to making your staff redundant:
- Reducing travel expenses: for example travelling less; flying Coach instead of Business Class; flying discount airlines; renegotiating with the business’ travel agents.
- Reducing entertainment expenses: for example giving staff a reduced per day allowance when travelling; bringing entertainment in-house; reducing meals with clients to one course, rather than three.
- Using video conferencing platforms for your meetings. There are a plethora of offerings in this space alone some of which are GoToMeeting, WebEx, JoinMe, Zoom, Zeetings, and Skype for Business.
- Re-negotiating leases of equipment.
- Re-negotiating rental agreements with landlords.
- Postponing discretionary purchases.
- Freezing salaries for a defined period.
- Postponing wage and salary increases for a time.
- Deferring bonuses until the business improves.
- Reducing the hours staff are required to work.
- Job sharing.
- Forcing staff to take holidays during holiday periods.
- Reducing employee benefits.
When it is positioned that the sacrifices that everyone is making is to save all or most jobs, then it’s been found time and again, that most employees as a collective, lean in, and stick together.
While these and other cost-cutting steps may not completely stem the need to reduce headcount, they may reduce the number of people who are laid off, made redundant or retrenched.
Indeed, there are other options to layoffs, redundancies or retrenchments.
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More on this topic: read How to Effectively Handle Layoffs; and Creating High Staff Engagement Following a Layoff.
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