Work Less, But Keep Your Job
Posted on January 23, 2012 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
A growing trend in organizations is to cut hours among employees rather than cutting employees altogether. Maybe an organization can only afford to pay for someone working 30 hours a week as opposed to working the standard 40 hours a week. While some would argue that this would result in a significant pay cut, others would be happy enough that they would still be employed.
The positive side of this solution is that organizations are demonstrating that they are working hard to come up with alternatives to laying off employees. Some of the situations may just be temporary while the organization re-structures itself and its employees. Others may be long term to avoid letting employees go.
The downside to cutting hours is that the employee may experience feelings of loss and a decrease in organizational commitment. Losing part of your salary can have an impact on how one feels about their self. Anytime you alter an employee’s salary, there are negative consequences that may occur. Whoever delivers the news of the cutting of hours must do so with sensitivity and understand that the employee may not respond positively regardless of the fact that they have not been laid off. Simply saying, “Well, at least you didn’t lose your job” is not the most effective and conscious comment to make.
One of the best ways to handle organizational changes such as salary decreases as a result of cutting hours is to communicate the changes openly and honestly to employees. If employees feel like the organization went “behind their back” and made certain decisions, employees are more likely to feel upset. Maintaining an open dialogue with employees and letting them know about changes within the organization ensures that employees feel like a part of the change and are fully informed.
The leaders within the organization have a critical role to play with organizational changes such as cutting hours or salaries. Tactics such as using the word “us” as an organization can strengthen the morale of the work group. Organizations all face challenges from time to time. If the leader communicates to the employees that care is being given to face present challenges, employees will likely feel more at ease. It is also important for the leader to be honest. For example, Jeff Skilling, former CEO of Enron can be viewed in videotapes where he enthusiastically tells employees about how great Enron was doing in the business world and encouraged employees to put their retirement funds in Enron stocks. Unfortunately, Skilling used his authority unethically and gave employees a very skewed view of how Enron was doing financially.
Many organizations are also using cross-training to eliminate cutting hours. With cross-training, employees are able to learn new skills and responsibilities. This allows that employee to widen their knowledge base and allows them to accomplish more tasks in the organization. Therefore, if an organization is forced to cut part of its budget, cross-training may be a way to utilize employees most effectively.
Do you know organizations that have cut salaries or hours to prevent laying off employees? Do you think this is better than being laid off?