Employers: How Creative Are You?

So you managed to get through 2008 without laying anyone off. You’ve tightened budgets, cut back on spending, held your own against your competition, and even earned a profit. Congratulations!
But 2009 looks like it will require additional belt tightening.  You recognize the loyalty of your staff, and you’ve tried to reward them, but you’re still concerned you may have to let some folks go.  What are some of your options to keep good people in tight times?
Sure, you could cut some benefits, make your employees pony up for more of their health care costs, reduce corporate contributions to retirement plans, even freeze wages. And all of these are effective at saving some money.  But they also deflate motivation and allegiance.  No one wants to see the erosion of the extras that contribute to job satisfaction and staff morale.  And believe me; if you take away any of these or other perks that have been part of your compensation packages, you will see a decline in morale and an increase in employee turnover.
Have you considered trying incentive based pay increases, rather than the typical annual pay bump?  If your staff is motivated, try switching to an incentives program that rewards only the most productive.  Those on your team who are already strong producers will continue to be so because they will see they are the most likely to attain goals and benchmarks.  Those who rest on their laurels will learn soon enough not to take their productivity or their salaries for granted.  Those employees who have worked hard, will work even harder knowing that their success will lead to reward.  Benchmarks for achievement do not have to be limited to sales, but can be based on workload completion, accuracy, clients seen, and a litany of other measurable accomplishments.
You can also rethink your marketing and advertising expenses.  You don’t have to be a consumer products company to take advantage of the power of viral marketing.  Putting your creative message on the ‘net, on yours and others’ web pages, on your blogs and in response to others’ web logs, including social and professional networking sites.  How can you take more advantage of the ‘nets increased power to reach general and dedicated markets?  Will your advertising dollars go farther on the ‘net than in print?  You bet!
Can money be saved in the review of your corporate insurance policies?   Property?  Casualty?  Personnel?  Health premiums?  Can you get a better deal by consolidating your many services from one insurer?
Are better deals available from the company that leases your vehicles?
What have you done to save on your utility bills?  Have you switched to Energy Star rated appliances, computers and electronics?  Changed your lighting to compact fluorescents?  Turned off lights and computers at night or switched to motion-sensor on/off lighting controls?
Look!  There are myriad ways smart employers can save money creatively that will directly affect their bottom line, and help them retain their loyal employees.  But the moves have to make sense to the staff and be recognized as effective so employees don’t feel like they are being short-changed in some way.
This past holiday, many companies continued to throw their lavish seasonal soirees, after they had just laid off workers.  Those who remained were left questioning whether the costs of the party could have saved a few jobs, and in many cases, the answer is a resounding “yes”!
Sure, your staff needs to be rewarded, recognized, and given a chance to collectively celebrate and chill out!  But even though the big party was booked months before the layoffs, the writing was probably on the wall, and everyone in senior management likely knew deep inside that the expense of that event could have been (better?) relegated to saving a job or two.
So, whatever creative actions you take to save money, make sure your staff is on board, and they understand why you are taking certain steps.  Change is hard!  Times are hard!  But if your staff is on the same page and aware, they are more likely to be supportive and continue their dedication to your (their employer’s) success.
To learn more about how we can contribute to your business success, please visit:  hanklondon.com.