But amongst the layoffs and salary freezes, it’s tough for employees to stay motivated, and loyal, according to poll results revealed by Ipsos Reid on July 14, 2009. It’s no surprise as to why. When an organization goes through layoffs, many of the remaining employees live in fear, wondering if they will be the next to go.

Unfortunately, not downsizing isn’t an option for many businesses. So how can a business watch its costs and do its best to keep their valued employees happy?

It comes down to involvement.

Take BOWEN for example. Like so many other companies, we have had to make some tough decisions on where to cut back. Involve your staff in the decision making process. Information leads to empowerment. In BOWEN’s case, our staff opted for job sharing over layoffs, which resulted in cost savings that rivaled, or even exceeded, layoffs and severance packages. Our costs are dropping, and our employees feel satisfied, valued and engaged.

Small steps can often result in big attitude changes. Consider some of these tips:

  • Ask employees for their input on what can be done to improve on your business (this can even be done in confidence if employees would prefer not to openly meet about it).
  • Help employees focus on what they can control. A positive focus brings positive results.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – be open, even when it’s bad news! You are creating a culture of trust.
  • Focus on things you haven’t had time for – build your team!

And just remember, these times won’t last forever. It is better to find a way to retain skilled staff, than to scramble to find them again once things recover.