If someone warned you about what would unfold in 2020 a year ago, what would you have said? Most of us could never fathom the events that have unfolded, and yet here we are. The unfortunate by-product of this pandemic is that many have lost their jobs, with firing employees being one of the only solutions that keep businesses afloat. Although what if there was another way? Now that we have a greater perspective of how this virus has impacted industries, there are some fantastic ways and incentives emerging that have afforded employees to stay on. If you find yourself in a complicated position with termination appearing to be the only option – stop and read this article because you might have other alternatives during these troubling times.
Explore and exhaust all COVID-19 business support services and resources
Can you honestly say you have reviewed all the coronavirus business support services and resources available to you? If the answer is no, then park the idea of firing your employees until you have explored them all. Big names like MYOB, Shopify and Facebook have created resources and even grants to arm businesses with a stable backing so that they can weather this storm. There is no shortage of free tools that you can use now, as the innovative giants that created these resources need your business to perform so that they can perform – so you have more power over the market than you think. Task yourself with finding out what options are available to you, and start applying for grants and services that are going to maintain your business and keep your employees on deck.
Reduce hours and workloads before considering firings
Many, many industries have instigated company-wide pay reductions to serve the greater good and keep everyone in a job. This might be a 30% pay cut across the board, a four-day week for all employees – or it could even be that bonuses and commissions are not being issued in this time. You would be surprised at how well these announcements have been received, especially when employees appreciate that the alternative is for them or their peers to be out of a job.
Like most company decisions where pay and employee benefits are infringed upon – there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. It shows comradery and respect if pay cuts are seen top-down, in fact, there are some companies that have enforced a greater pay cut on their senior managers and the lower tiers feel a slight pinch and some even receive no pay cut. Engagement is a fragile beast in any business, so businesses should be considering the greater consequences of their actions and should proceed with a genuine and fair solution to reductions.
Redefine and redistribute task management
It’s time to get creative in how you see your business continuing to work, and who does what by assessing and retasking your employees. Say you have a cafe business and distribute your baked goods to other businesses in your city. Now that you have closed your doors, you can consider having your baristas and waiter taking on the delivery of those foods to the other businesses surrounding. You might even consider tasking a couple of younger and tech-saver waiters the responsibility of creating and maintaining a social presence. Hell, you could even have your team working to restyle the cafe itself so that it looks fresh and ready to go when restrictions ease.
As a business owner, you know there is always a million things you ‘could’ do, but what you ‘should’ do takes precedents. With all responsibilities turned on their head – commit to some of those tasks you never had the time for. Imagine the passion your team will throw into this work when they know they are being kept on in such an uncertain time.
There is no shame in making any decision that is going to yield the greatest result for your business, although make sure you have exhausted all other options before you make one decision or the next. There will come a time when you need to staff up again, and do you really want to let go of your stars and have to retrain new faces in the months that proceed?