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By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

More than 2 out of 5 employees believe there is little job security in their organizations.


You can't pick up the newspaper today without reading about yet another organization that has decided to improve their bottom line by conducting a major layoff. Layoffs, however, have many negative consequences.


  1. Cut Other Expenses

    Look for other ways to reduce cost. Organizations spend millions of dollars on raw materials, energy, and supplies. Why not put some effort into reducing some of these costs before resorting to layoffs?

  2. Increase Revenue by Selling Non-core Assets

    Instead of eliminating employees, sell parts of the business that are not critical to its success.

  3. Become an Outsourcing Center

    Establish long-term relationships with organizations that may temporarily need your talented workforce. These could be organizations that are busy when you or not.

    Also, explore selling the services of your support staff, engineers, and supervisors to other organizations on a temporary basis. Your employees would gain valuable experience, bring revenue in to your organization, and be available when your business picks up again. This can be a win-win situation.

  4. Retrain Employees

    Many organizations are often hiring in one part of the organization while laying off in other parts. Wouldn't it make sense, instead, to retrain your loyal employees so that they could perform other types of work for you? This would save the costs associated with both laying off employees and hiring new ones. It would also enable employees to expand their skill set. This is another win-win situation.

  5. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

    Many employees are eager to work part time rather than full time. Indeed, they accepted full time work only because they could not find a part-time position. Wouldn't it make sense to offer this possibility to existing employees rather than just assume they would only want to work full time? Indeed, in many cases, employees can perform most of their valuable functions while working only part time. This could be yet another win-win situation.

  6. Furlough Employees

    Many organizations schedule temporary plant shutdowns when work levels decline. This is a less drastic measure than a layoff. Although pay is often suspended during the shutdown, employee benefits continue.

  7. Cut Executive Bonuses

    Other organizations have temporarily suspended executive bonuses in order to prevent widespread layoffs. Few would argue that senior executives should shoulder some of the pain when their business is ailing.

So, seriously consider the alternatives. Layoffs are not the only way to handle difficult economic times.

I am very much interested in your views on this topic.
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