By Prince S. Cooper
Instead of relying on layoffs to keep businesses afloat during this pandemic, why can we try to find creative alternatives to layoffs instead? Many Liberians and people around the world have suffered layoffs since the eruption of coronavirus in the world. I don’t think I have to tell you that the results are devastating. Maybe there are better ways to tackle this situation instead of layoffs: Having observed the sudden layoff of employees in most companies & businesses in Liberia, I am moved to provide 17 alternatives for businesses & companies to follow or capitalize on instead of laying off staffs during these trying times.
Could it be that the employers only care about profits making and not those who bring in the profits?; I think most companies/businesses are laying off employees because they lack the strategies to bring in revenue through all spheres of influences.
Hence, employers could:
- Freeze New Hiring: Many of the companies that deploy mass lay-offs are still placing job postings at the same time. In other words, they’re getting rid of valuable human capital to save money while bringing in fresh blood at lower salaries. It costs less to retain employees than to replace them, so consider a hiring freeze as an alternative to layoffs.
- Work-From-Home Programs: Keeping a mass number of employees in the workplace during this pandemic costs money. People consume electricity, water, and other utilities, as well as office supplies. Sending some of your workers’ homes can cut costs without dumping valued people onto the street.
- Slight Salary Cuts: Explain that you need to give everyone a salary cut across the board because of the current situation. Make it a flat number, such as 5 percent, that won’t completely shatter your employees’ personal finances but will give your company a bit of a financial break and maintenance during this crisis.
- Stop Outsourcing: In that same line, mute outsourcing. Keep all the work under one roof so you can control costs more appropriately and have your budget minimize to control expenditures.
- Sell Assets: During this pandemic, Your Company doesn’t need fancy gadgets and outdated machinery that just collects dust in some garage. Start selling off assets to reduce storage costs, bring in some cash flow, and protect your workforce.
- Be open to your employees: Now’s the time to start asking questions. It’s also the time for transparency in leadership. Let your team know about your company’s struggles during this pandemic, then ask for their feedback. How would they prefer you to handle the situation? Do they have any suggestions? Make it teamwork and forget about the boss’s moves.
- Eliminate Overtime: Sure, your employees might miss the extra money on their paychecks, but no overtime is better than no job. Make them understand the financial standing of the company during this pandemic.
- Offer Early Retirement: This goes hand-in-hand with the attrition angle but gives your employees a boost. Offer an early retirement package to employees who might want to step off the corporate ladder and give room to the younger ones. Offer retirement to those who are in the system and will soon be of age to retirement.
- Cut Wages from the Top Down: This is where we will lose a few up-level executives who like their nice houses and fancy cars but listen up. True leaders make sacrifices before they impose sacrifices on others. Terrible leaders just sacrifice other people.
- Freeze Bonuses: In addition to cutting wages of the highest-earning employees, freeze bonuses as an alternative to layoffs.
- Focus on Efficiency: How can you do things faster, less expensively, and more productively? Where can you save cash? How can you encourage your staff to become more efficient in their jobs?
- Selective Termination: Sometimes you have to let employees go. It’s not because you’re downsizing, but because those employees don’t add value to your company. If you have truly toxic staff members, start trimming your staff that way. Remember that during this pandemic, it is not the time for wasteful spending.
- Reassignments: Maybe you can restructure your business to make better use of your human capital. Moving employees to different departments and assigning them new responsibilities might reveal new ways to stimulate cash flow.
- Remove Incentives: Everyone loves incentives. They’re a great way to encourage productivity and efficiency in the workplace. However, when you’re hemorrhaging money, you have to cut back somewhere. During this pandemic, Instead of cutting jobs, cut incentives.
- Go Green: Turn your workplace into a green machine. Go paperless, use sunlight instead of lightbulbs to illuminate workspaces, sell off printers and copiers. Now’s the time to strip down (and maybe save the environment at the same time).
- Engage in Barter: Instead of acquiring inventory, merchandise, and other assets on credit, investigates barter agreements. They’re healthy for both businesses and they free up cash flow.
- Call a Financial Advisor: Above all, an expert in business finance can help you look at your P&L statements from a fresh perspective. He or she might even offer a solution that provides an alternative to layoffs during this pandemic.
Are layoffs necessary during this pandemic? Yes, I’m forced to reluctantly conclude. It’s better to lay off some of your employees than to lose your company/business. I get that. Just don’t make it your go-to solution when your business starts to slip into the red. You can save many families by using some if not of those alternatives above. Try encouraging your team to fight like the Spartans. Be the good leader you are during this pandemic.
‘’We can fight this, we can win without abandoning our soldiers’’
REFERENCE: 2011-LJC Employment strategies- Narrative (Freethinkers)
Prince S. Cooper is an Independent Financial Consultant at the Tax Right Accounting and Consultancy Inc. He is also the Finance Manager of the Women Empowerment Network. He has a BSc in Accounting and is a Double Masters Candidate at the Cuttington University.