November 2009 
Cutting Back?
4 Ways To Keep the RIGHT People


It is hard to believe that unemployment is still going up. Layoffs are still occurring at companies both big and small. The decision to reduce staff is never easy, but in a small company, it can be even more difficult. A small business owner knows first hand how the loss of a job will affect his or her employee. On top of that, in a small company, the loss of any one individual can leave a gaping whole in the organization. Who is willing and able to pick up additional responsibility? What will my customers think when the person they usually talk to is gone? How will the company move on once the dust settles?

When making decisions about layoffs, consider first and foremost how to keep your business healthy, productive, and effective at its reduced size. Analyze the skill sets required and figure out who has what the company needs.  Then . . .

1.  Retain individuals who have a unique or a hard to find skill set.  Replacing them later could be costly and difficult. If your business depends on their capabilities, keep them around.

2. Retain individuals who are willing to wear more than one hat. Can a shipping person perform receiving duties as well? Can a sales person provide occasional customer service support? Can a maintenance person pick up some janitorial duties? Employees who are willing to do this are more valuable and cost you less because they can (and will) do more.

3. Retain individuals who have strong ties to customers. Business levels might be down right now, but position yourself for increased orders down the road. Sales people and customer service staff may have strong relationships with your clients. Keep those people who your customers will come back to when the economy improves.

4. Retain individuals who exemplify your Core Values. Chuck Scharenberg, Director of Chicago Operations at Kaizen Consulting says, "We believe that Core Values are the criteria for deciding which employees to keep in challenging times. Core Values might include: technical expertise, individual accountability, results oriented, team player, honesty and integrity."  Kaizen Consulting, which advises small businesses owners on how to achieve their goals, helps clients identify specific behaviors that exemplify these values within the organization. "We believe that the Core Values which the business owners establish are the boss; not the owners." says Mr. Scharenberg. This makes the decision process even easier.

Laying off people is difficult, but if it must be done, be sure to focus on retaining individuals that can help your business weather the storm most effectively. If you need assistance with employee relations and retention strategies for those employees who will remain with you, call us. We can help you define your needs, and help you show your employees that they are a valued part of your organization.

Sandra Teague, SPHR
Advantage Employment, Inc.
Study: Economy Doesn't Change Workers' Retention Expectations

SHRM logo
Employees may be hunkered down and less likely to take on the risk of changing jobs right now, however, that could change drastically once the economy turns around. It is in the best interest of an employer to keep that in mind if they want to hold on to their "A" players. Kathy Gurchiek wrote recently for the Society of Human Resource Management:

The soured economy makes little difference in workers' priorities and their high expectation of employers, according to a Spherion 2009 Emerging Workforce Study released October 2009.  Yet, only 13 percent of U.S. employers are taking extra steps to retain workers, and 30 percent are doing less than in previous years, according to employees. It's "indicative of an interesting trend" that has not changed significantly since 1997.

It could mean that once organizations start hiring again, employers who haven't focused on retention could see high turnover as workers seek jobs elsewhere at employers that offer them greater workplace satisfaction.

As SHRM Online reported in June 2009, 29 percent of 668,000 employees surveyed globally in 2009 are interested in leaving their employer when the economy improves. This could pose a problem for employers if top talent is among that number. Savvy companies are using the recession to reinforce employee-company bonds and persuade employees to recommit to their organizations. "It is imperative," says Spherion's President Roy Krause, "that HR executives realize that the actions they take during a downturn will impact the bottom line and potential growth of their organization in an upturn." [continued]

For a link to the full article or an e-mailed copy, please contact Sandra Teague.
How The Government Measures Unemployment
BLS LogoEver wonder where those federal unemployment statistics come from? Here is the explanation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If this isn't enough to satisfy your appetite, click here for even MORE details.

Because unemployment insurance records relate only to persons who have applied for such benefits, and since it is impractical to actually count every unemployed person each month, the Government conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country.

There are about 60,000 households in the sample for this survey. This translates into approximately 110,000 individuals, a large sample compared to public opinion surveys which usually cover fewer than 2,000 people. The CPS sample is selected so as to be representative of the entire population of the United States. In order to select the sample, all of the counties and county-equivalent cities in the country first are grouped into 2,025 geographic areas (sampling units). The Census Bureau then designs and selects a sample consisting of 824 of these geographic areas to represent each State and the District of Columbia. The sample is a State-based design and reflects urban and rural areas, different types of industrial and farming areas, and the major geographic divisions of each State.

Each month, 2,200 highly trained and experienced Census Bureau employees interview persons in the 60,000 sample households for information on the labor force activities (job-holding and job-seeking) or non-labor force status of the members of these households during the survey reference week (usually the week that includes the 12th of the month).

Each person is classified according to the activities he or she engaged in during the reference week. Then, the total numbers are "weighted," or adjusted to independent population estimates (based on updated decennial census results). The weighting takes into account the age, sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and State of residence of the person, so that these characteristics are reflected in the proper proportions in the final estimates.

That's a lot of tax dollars at work! For further information about what this all means to you, e-mail Sandra Teague.
How Advantage Employment Saves your Company Money:
  • Eliminate the internal cost of an HR administrator and outsource those duties for less.
  • Stop allocating high level executive time to handle sensitive or confidential HR issues. Focus on your business instead.
  • Stop paying an outside payroll provider steep rates for minimal do-it-yourself service.
  • Don't lose a protestable unemployment claim. Each person who gets unemployment benefits who shouldn't can cost your company $4K to $6K in increased taxes each year.
  • Don't let workers comp claims malinger. Improper case management and lack of a return-to-work plan will increase the cost of the claim and increase your mod.
  • Reduce your exposure to dangerous lawsuits by enlisting the help of HR professionals. Show your employees that policies are sound, and prevent trouble makers from taking advantage of a loosely run organization.
  • Reduce turnover in your staff by maximizing their understanding and utilization of the employee benefits that you already provide to them.
  • Increase employee loyalty by providing them a resource to solve any employment question or problem.
Things You Should Know
Economy Doesn't Change Workers' Retention Expectations
How the Government Measures Unemployment

Newsletter Archives

To view previously published newsletters, click below.
View our Archive

Contact Us
Advantage Employment, Inc.
205 E. Butterfield Road, #445
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Join Our Mailing List