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Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Economic survey: Job losses to bottom out in 1Q

In 1 on November 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Economists expect the joblessness that has weighed down the nation’s economic recovery will start to slowly abate in 2010, but they predict consumers will continue to keep a tight rein on spending, according to a new survey.

AP - FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2009 file photo, shoppers prepare to load their car with purchases from ...AP – FILE – In this Nov. 19, 2009 file photo, shoppers prepare to load their car with purchases from …

While signs have pointed to the end of the recession, joblessness remains rampant. The national unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest in 26 years. About 9 million people currently receive unemployment benefits.

The November outlook by the National Association for Business Economics, which is set to be released Monday, shows economists expect net employment losses to bottom out in the first quarter of next year. Employers are seen starting to add to their payrolls after that.

“While the recovery has been jobless so far, that should soon change,” said Lynn Reaser, NABE’s president and chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. “Within the next few months, companies should be adding instead of cutting jobs.”

But even if companies do start restaffing next spring, they aren’t expected to ramp up hiring very quickly. Some 7.3 million jobs have been lost since December 2007, according to NABE. Of the 48 panelists surveyed, 61 percent do not expect a complete recovery of those lost jobs until 2012. And they expect the unemployment rate will remain “stubbornly high,” averaging 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Panelists ranked high unemployment as their second biggest concern over the next five years, expressing “extreme concern” first and foremost about the federal deficit. Those surveyed expect inflation will remain low and the dollar to remain weak, though they see it strengthening against the euro and continuing to be a major reserve currency.

The economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the Commerce Department announced last month, a strong signal that the economy is entering a recovery phase from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But the pace of the recovery is expected to be slow because of high unemployment and tight credit.

The latest survey by NABE notes that sluggish consumer spending will continue to weigh on the economy. But it predicts rebounds in housing, growth from business spending as more companies restock lean inventories, and a rise in stock prices.

Economists polled in the survey predict 3 percent real GDP growth in the 2009 fourth quarter, and 3.2 percent growth for all of 2010. For the two years combined, the projected growth is half a percentage point higher than the forecast NABE gave in October.

“Real GDP growth should also be enough to recover losses from the recession and return output to an all-time high by the end of 2010,” NABE forecasters predict.

Those surveyed say the housing recovery will gather momentum, helped by low interest rates, with housing starts expected to jump 36 percent and residential investment climbing 9 percent next year. Such results would make 2010 the first year since 2005 that the housing sector contributes to overall growth. Economists expect home prices to gain 2 percent next year, after bottoming out in 2009.

Consumer spending gains are expected to be “lackluster,” as workers continue to worry about jobs and investments. Panelists also expect to see a “persistently elevated sense of thrift” as consumers save more. They expect the personal savings rate to average 4 percent in 2010, the highest level since 1998.

Businesses, though, will increase their spending. The survey said the inventory liquidation of the past year will bottom out and companies will restock in 2010, while also spending more on equipment and software because of higher profits.

Corporate profits are expected to gain 12.4 percent in 2010, which the survey said was average for the first year of an economic recovery. All survey respondents expect the stock market to grow in 2010, with the S&P 500 Index seen rising 9.5 percent next year.

 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Economic-survey-Job-losses-to-apf-2386912487.html?x=0

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10 biggest job interview mistakes

In Pre/Post Employment Services on November 20, 2009 at 9:34 am

10. Over-explaining why you lost your last job. It’s okay to mention that your last position was eliminated, but then move on to what you can do for this employer.

9. Conveying that you’re not over it. “During interviews, some people are acting wounded, angry or sad,” Schoonover says. These are normal emotions after a layoff but they don’t belong in a job interview — or you may “seem unstable and communicate that you don’t grasp the business reasons for layoffs,” he adds.

8. Lacking humor, warmth, or personality. Many anxious job candidates are “one-dimensional during interviews, and are too focused on getting their talking points across,” notes Schoonover. “Don’t forget to show qualities that can be a real plus in the decision-making process, including humor in good taste, warmth, and understanding.” One thing interviewers want to know, of course, is how pleasant you would be to have around the place every day.

7. Not showing enough interest or enthusiasm. After all, “companies are looking for people who are excited about working with them,” Schoonover says.

6. Inadequate research about a potential employer. It’s essential to be up on the latest news, so be sure to Google the company before the interview. Be prepared with well-informed, thoughtful questions about its products or services and its future plans. Many applicants aren’t bothering, Schoonover says, and it shows.

5. Concentrating too much on what you want. Focus more on what the interviewer is saying. Listening carefully is crucial in steering the conversation toward how you would fit in and what you have to offer.

4. Trying to be all things to all people. “Devote most of your effort to talking about what you know you do well, and don’t try to stretch your actual qualifications too far,” Schoonover advises. A good rule of thumb: Don’t apply for any job unless you have at least 75% of the stated qualifications.

3. “Winging” the interview. Schoonover hears from many hiring managers that candidates often aren’t ready to answer difficult questions. So rehearse. “Prepare and practice a 90-second verbal resume, and some answers to possible questions, so that you come across as succinct,” he suggests.

2. Failing to set yourself apart from other candidates. “You have to make the strongest possible case for why you are the best person for the job,” Schoonover says. “Specifically address what impact you can have on sales, profits, costs, or productivity within the next three to six months. Use quantifiable achievements from past positions to back up your performance promise.”

And the No. 1 mistake OI Partners’ coaches see job hunters make:

1. Failing to ask for the job. “You have a much better chance of getting the job if you ask for it,” says Schoonover. “Close the interview by summing up what you can bring to the job, and ask for the opportunity to deliver those results.”

 

How to Network Without Being Phony, Lame or Desperate

In Human Resources, Pre/Post Employment Services on November 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

 

Let’s face it: Even when you’re on top of the world, chances are good that the idea of networking sounds like a big, fat drag. You can probably think of 100 other things you’d rather do — like cleaning the blades of your ceiling fan. But if you’re one of the 14.9 million people who are competing for what seems to be a handful of jobs, your confidence has probably taken a hit. So now is probably not the time to be meeting anyone new. In fact, now is not the time to get out of your pajamas.

Ah, but it is. Networking is the single most valuable thing you can do with all this free time you have now. It will help you build the relationships that will stay with you for the rest of your career. You will learn more about your profession, industry and community. It will protect you from becoming an out-of-touch doofus. And, best of all, it will put you in front of people who have leads on jobs that haven’t been published yet (the hidden job market). Through active networking, you could be the only candidate who is considered for that great job. Why? Because you got there first. Networking will do that for you. So while you change your clothes, change your mind about  networking, too! Here’s how:

Remember there’s nothing phony, lame or desperate about being out of a job.
With so many people who have been laid off, people are expecting to hear from you and help you. Call them.

Change your mind about what you’re networking for.
If you think that one meeting this afternoon is going to land you a job, you’re going to sound desperate. Each meeting is a chance to tell your story about what you do and who would benefit from your talent. So try to relax and take each meeting as it comes. Some that you have high expectations for will turn out to be duds. Some that you think will be long-shots will be gold mines. You’re networking not to land a job but to meet people, who will then introduce you to others, who will then introduce you to still others — one of whom will one day say, “When can you start?”

Remember that it’s not all about you.
You’re meeting because the two of you have something in common (similar job title; shared interest in the profession, industry or community; the person works in a company that interests you). Focus on that commonality and explore possibilities that spring from that commonality. Truly listen to what that person is saying, don’t just wait until his lips stop moving so you can start talking yourself.

Be yourself.
That is, be your best self. Don’t be the self that wants to stay home in your pajamas, hugging a pint of Ben and Jerry’s tight. Be the self who is at the top of your professional game, with a wealth of value to still deliver to the world, with a track record of successes that you still keep top of mind.

Tell your story without the usual job-search downers.
If your story tends to end with, “And then I got laid off,” you might want to rewrite your script. Focus on your accomplishments and the fact that people noticed your potential throughout your career. Be real about how it is that you’re between jobs right now, just like “a lot of really great people these days” (use those words). And then immediately ask your networking partner a question about the company, industry trends, anything that shows you’re still a player in your field and ready to start contributing again.

Have a full calendar.
No networking meeting should ever be the last networking meeting you have scheduled. Always have something else (lots of something  elses) lined up. No one wants to be anyone’s last, best hope.

Have an agenda.
Many job seekers have only a vague notion of what to talk about in a networking meeting, so networking becomes synonymous with  small talk. Small talk does not impress anybody unless you’re looking for a hostess job. Spend two minutes talking about your background, 15-30 minutes talking about the jobs and employers on your target list, and the rest of the time talking current trends in the industry. Don’t forget, like any good business meeting, end it on time. Don’t dawdle. Don’t linger. Don’t ask for that second cup of coffee. Get out politely, but get out.

Thank your networking partner immediately afterward and confirm you’ll stay in touch.
It’s amazing how few people actually do this. Stand out! Send a note. Send an e-mail. Say thank you. And report on how you followed up on all that great advice you just got. Keep that person informed of your progress. If you do this, you’ll continue to have a lively network of people who care about you and respect you for the rest of your career.

Pay it back.
You may be out of work, but you still have all your resources. Use them to help others in or out of the job search.

http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2092-Job-Search-How-to-Network-Without-Being-Phony-Lame-or-Desperate/?sc_extcmp=JS_2092_home1&SiteId=cbmsnhp42092&ArticleID=2092&gt1=23000&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=4d705d7283dc4d238fca9c98838ec598-311777753-RE-4

5 Careers That Thrive on the Holiday Season

In Human Resources on November 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

While most of us look forward to some much-needed rest and relaxation over the holidays, some ambitious professionals live to work during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year’s.

So, are these people officially insane are they just gluttons for punishment? Believe it or not, the answer is neither. It turns out that certain businesses bring in the most moolah during the holiday months. Here are five careers that simply love the holidays:

1. Dentists

There’s no question that dentists earn a healthy salary year-round. In 2007, the average net income for an independent private dental practitioner who owned all or part of their practice was $205,960 for a general practitioner and around $353,280 for a specialist, according to the 2008 Survey of Dental Practice.

However, while they’d probably never admit it, Halloween is undoubtedly a dentist’s favorite time of year. About 40 million trick-or-treaters celebrate Halloween each year, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That means 40 million sets of teeth are exposed to the decaying, damaging effects of countless sugar-filled candy bars, chewy-gooey bubble gum, destructive jaw breakers and an array of other sweet treats.

For years, dentists have reported an overwhelming increase in cavities, broken, chipped and cracked teeth and innumerable other dental issues in the weeks and months following Halloween.

2. Caterers

What would Thanksgiving or Christmas Day be without a glorious spread complete with a tender turkey, delectable dressing, succulent sweet potato casserole and plenty of mouth-watering desserts? Of course, many holiday hosts simply don’t have the time to create such a massive meal. That’s exactly why thousands of people turn to their local caterer to save the day.

The U.S. catering business brings in a whopping $20 billion each year, according to Technomic, a food industry research firm. Of course, a heaping helping of that $20 billion comes in during the holidays. Most caterers see a huge jump in business during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Caterers charge anywhere from $15 to $40 a head plus a delivery cost for a Thanksgiving meal. Some extremely successful businesses cater as many as 800 meals on Thanksgiving day. Talk about some serious cash! No wonder caterers start salivating at the mere suggestion of the holiday season.

A caterer’s telephone generally starts ringing off the hook with Thanksgiving and Christmas meal requests as early as June. Many catering companies say they start preparing for holiday meals six months before Thanksgiving day. Bon appetit!

3. Snow Plow Drivers

For many parts of the country, November and December doesn’t just mean turkey dinners and Christmas trees — it also means snow boots and ice scrapers. Of course, no one adores the snowy season more than the winter-loving snow plow driver. It’s not unusual for snow plow operators to earn $1,000 a day or more when the snowflakes start falling.

Of course, it all comes down to where that snow plow operator lives. Obviously, if a snow plow driver were to set up shop in Georgia or Florida, he probably wouldn’t earn a dime during the winter season. However, plow operators in the nation’s snowiest towns, like Blue Canyon, California; Marquette, Michigan; and Syracuse, New York, make a killing each holiday season. I bet you can guess who’s dreaming of a White Christmas this year.

4. Gym Owners and Personal Trainers

Many of us spend three months stuffing ourselves silly with Halloween candy, turkey and dressing, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s Eve cocktails. That’s why, come January, many of us are ready to begin the battle the bulge.

In 2009, the second most popular New Year’s resolution among adults was to lose weight, according to a FranklinCovey Products survey. Of course, no one could be happier about this highly popular New Year’s resolution than personal trainers and gym owners.

Thanks to all the holly-jolly over-indulgence, the average American gains one to 10 pounds over the holiday season. Consequently, January is the single biggest month for new membership enrollment at health clubs, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Personal trainers also benefit from these plump post-holiday exercisers, many of whom are resolved to squeeze back into their itty-bitty bikini before their annual spring beach trip. In other words, fitness gurus are rolling in the dough post-New Year’s.

5. Debt Counselors

Last year, U.S. consumers spent a total of $28.5 billion on Thanksgiving and another $460 billion on Christmas expenses, according to IBISWorld. Some studies show that the average American family spends $1,500 or more each holiday season.

After taking part in this carefree, holiday spirit-induced spending spree, many of us wake up in January with serious debt hangover. Last year, 31% of credit card users were still working to pay off their holiday debt in March or later, while 13% were still carrying Christmas debt six months after the Yuletide season.

It’s no surprise that the number one New Year’s resolution among adults in 2009 was to get out of debt or save money, according to the FranklinCovey Products survey.

No wonder debt counselors seem to be immune to post-holiday depression. Credit counselors typically see a 40% or higher customer increase in January, according to estimates from one consumer credit association.

The Bottom Line

So, while you’re kicking back and taking a break over the holidays, don’t forget about these festive workers who whistle while they work from Halloween all the way to New Year’s Day. And if you’re looking to earn some extra cash this holiday season, you may want to check with your dentist’s office, a caterer, the local snow plow business, the fitness center, or even a debt counseling company.

http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/career-articles-5_careers_that_thrive_on_the_holiday_season-1028

Five Things New Grads Should Know About Job Hunting

In 1 on November 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

The class of 2006 is looking at a bright future with promising job prospects and salary increases. Seventy percent of hiring managers say they plan to recruit recent college graduates this year, up from 62 percent in 2005, according to CareerBuilder.com’s “College Hiring 2006” survey. Plus, nearly one-in-five hiring managers expect to hire more recent college graduates in 2006 compared to last year and one-in-four plan to increase starting salaries.


College grads can also expect a bigger payoff this year. Twenty-seven percent of hiring managers anticipate increasing starting salaries for recent college graduates in 2006 and only 5 percent plan to decrease them. How much should new grads expect to earn? Thirty-four percent of hiring managers expect to offer between $20,000 and $30,000 and 28 percent expect to offer between $30,000 and $40,000. An additional 10 percent will offer between $40,000 and $50,000 and 7 percent will offer more than $50,000.

 

New grads won’t have to pound the pavement for too long. Thirty-six percent of hiring managers say they will do the majority of their hiring of recent college graduates in the second quarter. Thirty-one percent say the majority of their hiring will take place in the third quarter. With promising job opportunities, favorable salaries and plenty of free time, new grads should have no reason not to look for that first job. Make sure you know these top five things hiring managers look for when sizing up a candidate:

 

1. Relevant experience Twenty-three percent of hiring managers say the candidate’s ability to relate their experience to the job at hand is the most important factor in the hiring decision. Unfortunately, new graduates often underestimate the experience they have through internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities, but 63 percent of hiring managers say they view volunteer activities as relevant experience.

 

2. Fit within the company culture Just because you look good on paper doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in for the job. To 21 percent of employers, the trait they most want to see in a candidate is the ability to fit in with co-workers and the company. Offering up a blank stare when the interviewer asks why you are the right fit for the job will not go over well. Just be yourself, but mind your i’s — never insult, interrupt or irritate the interviewer. This can also be evaluated by that “unimportant” small talk at the beginning of an interview or non-job-related questions like “What was the last book you read?”

 

3. Educational background Nineteen percent of hiring managers place the most emphasis on your educational background: the institution you attended, major, minor and degree earned. Be sure to also include courses taken and completed projects if relevant to the job. With grade point average, it’s tricky. A good rule of thumb is to omit it unless it is 3.0 or higher and denote if it’s your overall or major GPA.

 

4. Enthusiasm Passion for the job is the top characteristic 19 percent of employers look for in a candidate. Employees who are passionate about their jobs tend to be more productive workers. The answer to “Why do you want to work here?” should always focus on the strengths of the company and the challenge of the position, not the perks. A “take or leave it” attitude about the job will leave the employer feeling the same about you.

 

5. Preparedness Eight percent of hiring managers say the ideas you bring to the table and the questions you ask carry the most significance. Come in prepared to discuss how your qualifications can specifically contribute to the success of the company. Actually put yourself in that role and explain how you would perform your work and ways to improve it.

 

http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-484-Getting-Hired-Five-Things-New-Grads-Should-Know-About-Job-Hunting/

Remembering Names and What to Do When You Forget

In 1 on November 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

Remembering names is a challenge for many; therefore, most of us need to work a bit harder at being more proficient. Most people tend to forget names because, typically, we are thinking about what we are going to say, rather than listening and concentrating.

Try this exercise: As soon as someone makes an introduction, either a self-introduction or paving the way for another, use the person’s name immediately and say, “Dr. Doyle. It is a pleasure meeting you, Dr. Doyle.” Do this with each person you meet.

Next, look closely at this individual. Make an association, perhaps with another person you may know with the same name. Then, make a visual association; visualize him or her as the person with the white teeth or who wears pearls. Ask him to say or pronounce his name again, particularly if he has a challenging or unusual name. In a business situation, ask for a business card. Look at the card, then back at the individual and make another visual association with the individual and his name. Finally, say the person’s name again and use it frequently in conversation, which will also make him feel special.

People like to hear the sound of their own names. Think about it — when we hear our name, we perk up, right? You are also sending a message to this individual that you care enough to remember his name, which is a positive reflection on you, personally and professionally. The business tie-in is, what else do you take the time for, go to the trouble of, make the effort to learn about (in advance)? Bottom-line: I trust you; I want to do business with you; I want you to represent my firm.

What to do when you forget a name?

 Here are seven steps to take when you forget someone’s name.

1. Confess
“What’s your name again?” would not be appropriate. Try something like, “I am so sorry, I have completely blanked on your name.” This said, with sincerity, is appropriate and speaks volumes about you while also demonstrating your genuine interest in knowing who she is and remembering  her. As always, it is not what you say, but how you say it.

2. Ask  ‘What is your full name?’
The person will respond saying his first and last name. At which point you might say, “Yes, I knew it was ‘Bill,’ but ‘Bill Flynn'”; now you have both.

3. Go to a respected third party
Ask, “What is the name of the woman in the blue dress?” You may then approach her, greet her by name and be a hero, suggesting you remembered her name.

4. Ask for a business card or calling card.
Take this opportunity to make yet another visual association.

5. Ask him to spell his name.
Be careful here. He could say, “J-O-N-E-S. In other words, exactly the way it sounds.” This can happen from time to time. It’s OK. Others understand and appreciate your effort in trying to know their name.

6. Introduce yourself.
Approach the other person and say your name, first and last. In business, we should all be conditioned so that when we hear another person say her name, we respond by saying our name, slowly and clearly, so it can be understood and remembered. 

7. The  ‘setup’
Sending over a trusted friend, colleague or spouse to introduce himself so the individual in question will respond by saying his name is frequently done and is effective. The person who designed this “setup” is then free to confidently approach the person, calling him by name.

Finally, knowing that most of us are challenged remembering names, it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of this situation. Recognize the opportunity to help others when it comes to remembering names and using them for introductions and in conversation, which makes others feel valued and special. Everyone’s help and participation in making the name game seamless is not only appropriate, but required in order to be an active participant at any event. It will go a long way in terms of being noticed and appreciated.

Faux pas
Be sure to avoid these common faux pas when remembering someone’s name.

1. Assuming the familiar
Calling someone by her first name without being invited can be detrimental. Err on the side of being more conservative and ask, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” It is an expression and a gesture — always acceptable and appreciated and never wrong.

2. Assuming that ‘Suzanne Smith’ prefers to be called ‘Suzie’ or that ‘Cristiana Jones’ prefers to be called  ‘Christy.’
Once again, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” helps you to earn the right to advance and learn that Elizabeth Jones prefers to be called “Lizzy” or Dr. Jones.

http://msn.careerbuilder.com/Article/MSN-2093-Workplace-Issues-Remembering-Names-and-What-to-do-When-You-Forget/?sc_extcmp=JS_2093_home1&SiteId=cbmsnhp42093&ArticleID=2093&gt1=23000&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=751fe810febb4e1b88a832e645b30fae-311349237-RN-4

Creating Job Descriptions – A Guide For Small Business Owners

In Human Resources on November 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

Job descriptions are imperative to your business because they define job responsibilities and expectations.

Job descriptions can be used in a number of ways in your business. First, a description will help a candidate decide if the job is of interest. Second, the description will help you interview the candidate to decide if the candidate is right for the position. The job description can help you in training new employees. Finally, the description forms the backbone of your evaluation and review process.

Many people will be tempted to skip this step. It’s too difficult; all of my employees know what they are supposed to do; I don’t have time; it’s a waste of time. The excuses go on and on. Don’t fall into this trap! Job descriptions are an absolutely necessary part of your business. As the business owner or manager, you are the one responsible to create them.

The job description should be as clear and precise as possible. Start by listing the major tasks an employee in that position will be responsible for. It could be customer satisfaction, follow-up, or administration.

Next, list the activities necessary to do each task. Be as detailed and precise as possible. If you aren’t specific and meticulous in describing every important aspect of the job, federal regulators and courts can assume that the employee can perform the job any way he or she wants, regardless of whether it complies with the company’s policy. This is important if you ever have issues with the ADA, the Labor Department or just a disgruntled employee.

Do this for each task involved with this job. You may have a very long list. That’s ok!

Job descriptions that contain detailed statements of the employee’s job pass the accountability for that action to the employee. Pretty quickly you will stop hearing excuses. “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that” or “that’s not my job” are familiar ways for employees to pass the buck to someone else. With a precise statement, each employee knows exactly what is expected and there is little room not to be accountable.

Clear, precise job descriptions will help you to both hire and manage your employees.

http://www.smartbiz.com/article

Managing Lay Offs With Dignity

In Human Resources on November 3, 2009 at 10:21 am
With the potential for layoffs facing more and more companies, the realities of laying off great workers is confronting many business owners and managers: owners and managers who have never before faced this hard act. To help ease the pain for the employees being laid off, the owners and managers making the hard decisions, as well as those employees staying behind, I thought I’d share a 5 Step approach that may help you, your employees, and your business. It will not work for many of your businesses given union contracts, etc. but if it helps some others – use it.

Everyone knows the economy is uncertain and most employees are rightfully concerned about job stability. When people become nervous, the rumor mill kicks into high gear. We all know the rumor mill can destroy individuals quicker than many things. So if you haven’t yet, start communicating now. Lay out clearly how your company is and will address future business slow-downs.

Step 1 – Hold a “State of the Business” meeting with all employees and let them know the current state of your business. Let your employees know what your plan is for lay-offs and how you’ll handle lay offs if your company needs to resort to them. Share with your employees the following – or your own plan – for dealing with a slow down. The important thing is to communicate clearly the state of your business now and what will cause you to move to the next step.

Step 2 – Reduce management salaries. Should business start to slow down and you need to more proactively preserve cash and control costs, don’t immediately lay-off the lowest paid, front-line workers. They’re the people who do what your business is known for. Do what you can to retain them. Instead, consider doing what a few of my clients are doing:

Cut management salaries. Tell your employees this during your State of the Business Meeting. Let them know, you’re working to protect the front-line workers’ jobs, so the first wave of cost reductions will be borne by the management team. (One client cut all executive salaries by 15%; all mid-level managers by 10%.)

If you, like one of my clients, has a manager who “jokingly” asks, “But I’ll still get my bonus won’t I?” consider my response. “Absolutely. But first I want to sit in the meeting you’re going to have with the employee(s) who will need to be laid off in order to pay you your bonus. I want to hear how you explain to them that you will still get your bonus while they lose their jobs. Once they give you the O.K., you’ll get your bonus.” (Yeah I know it’s mean, but – duh. No bonuses.)

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.

http://www.smartbiz.com/article/view/2516/1/8