Find the Root of the Problem: Consider Alternatives Before Terminating Employees.
By Deepa Subramanian
Friday, 14th August 2009
Companies engaging in layoffs continue to perform more poorly than those that do not engage in layoffs, according to a past study.

The study tracked the financial performance of Fortune 100 firms in Canada that did and did not make public layoff announcements. The lesson to be learned? Find the root problem of your company's financial problems and resist the urge to immediately slice your workforce!

Avoid immediately taking the easy way out by laying off employees in the hopes that the problem will go away. As one advisor writes, "Find and fix the problem.

Don't just cut jobs to look good to the investors. Make the changes that will make the company better instead of damaging the very thing that made the company successful in the first place, its employees."

Alternatives to Reductions in Force (RIF)

  • Restructure the Company
  • Furloughs
  • Work Share Programs
  • Pay Cuts
  • Limit or Prohibit Overtime
  • Revise Employee Benefit Plan
  • Increase Workplace Safety
  • Keep Lines of Communication Open
While this is not an exhaustive list of possible alternatives to layoffs, the important lesson is to make sure you consider all options before laying off employees from your workforce.

Be creative; remember, many of your employees helped achieve the success of your company prior to these tough economic times.

Before instituting any cost-cutting measures, make sure you consider any union issues and conduct a review for other potential legal issues.

If you have any concerns about the legality of your plan, be it layoffs or taking other employment actions, contact a labor and employment attorney to make sure you are complying with the law while doing what is best for your company.

Fisher & Phillips LLP is one of the oldest and largest firms in the country representing management in the areas of labor, employment, civil rights, employee benefits and immigration law. Since our founding in 1943, we have developed and maintained a depth and breadth of expertise that is difficult, if not impossible, for most other firms to match. Our range of experience and expertise enables us to bring efficient and practical solutions to today's labor and employment law problems. www.laborlawyers.com.

article appeared in the June 16, 2009 issue of The eHuman Resource.

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