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Managing Lay Offs With Dignity
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By Liz Weber


Step 3 - Reduce or completely eliminate any overtime (within the law.) Again, this needs to be clarified during your initial Meeting, but let all employees know the ability for your company to pay - and their ability to continue to earn and live on - overtime rates is gone. Give your employees time to mentally shift and realize they may need to dramatically cut their living expenses and not count on overtime pay or consider it their "normal" income any more.

Step 4 - Reduce worker hours and cross-train. Again, where possible, instead of completely eliminating positions, reduce worker hours to preserve cash while allowing employees to maintain an income stream. If you haven't yet, this is also a critical time to cross-train and to provide additional training for staff. When things turn around, they'll have solid skills. During slow times, they'll continue to provide value for your business by working -- maybe on things they've never done before -- but they'll be working and continuing to broaden their skills.

Step 5 - When you can't hold off a lay-off any further. Lay off staff. Hold conversations with them to further clarify what they're next steps may be. Provide them with information on continuing benefits, unemployment, etc. Don't treat them as if they've committed a crime by standing guard next to them as they pack up their personal items and then escorting them out of the building.
Allow them to say good-bye to colleagues and leave with dignity.

The above steps may not work for your business. But at least have a strategy in place for how your company will face business downturns and then clearly and regularly communicate that plan to your staff. Most importantly, keep your employees informed of your business' progression to the next Step. Let them plan with you how to deal with the change in business and their employment situation. It'll help you and them face a difficult time together with mutual respect and dignity.


Copyright 2009 - Liz Weber, CMC - Weber Business Services, LLC.
WBS is a team of Strategic Planning and Leadership Development Consultants, Trainers, and Speakers. Liz can be reached at liz@wbsllc.comor (717)597-8890. Additional articles on strategic & succession planning and leadership can be found at http://www.wbsllc.com/articles.shtml or http://www.liz-weber.com/articles.php

Permission to reprint this article is granted as long as you use the complete attribution above - including live website link and e-mail address - and you send me an email at liz@wbsllc.com to let me know where the article will be published.

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