Volunteering for Layoffs & Shared Work

Shawnee Love   •  
January 22, 2016

Last week, I spoke about the soft but long term costs of layoffs.  I warned to use them as a last resort.  Literally, when its the only option left or you will not survive. Even then, before going to all the work of planning a layoff, have you considered asking your team for other solutions?

On multiple occasions, I have seen businesses go to their employees to tell them about the challenges of the organization, and the employees have stepped up with solutions.  Two great solutions for avoiding layoffs are:

  1. Volunteering to be laid off, and
  2. Reducing hours for everyone, so that those who were to be laid off will keep their jobs.

Both approaches get the employees involved and are better options than a management driven layoff campaign.

Those who volunteer to be laid off may be nearing or past their planned retirement age but were hanging on for a variety of personal reasons which typically have nothing to do with needing the money.  They may also be people who have an interest in going back to school, starting a business, taking time off to travel, or simply done with the job and don’t need it as much as others.  You save time planning layoffs and the pain of telling someone who just secured a mortgage that his job is done.  Employees feel happy for those who choose to move on and rest easy because their own positions are secured.

Reducing hours and sharing workload brings individuals together to help out the group.  What’s amazing in these times is that you can see productivity go up (people want to help each other and the company get back to full steam again).  You can also see morale go up and the team become stronger, because they know they are doing  something good for each other and the company.  Adversity can bring people together.

No one hopes to encounter tough times in their business.  But if you do, it is better to come out the other side stronger.