Don’t cut staff to cut costs – There’s a more productive way

No-one wins in my opinion if a business resorts to cutting staff to cut costs:

  • The people being made redundant.
  • The family and loved ones of those being made redundant.
  • The people processing those being made redundant.
  • The teams and staff that need to pick up the responsibilities left behind.
  • The employees, customers, suppliers etc. that have a relationship with those leaving.
  • The business if it cuts too deep and loses considerable IP, then supplements its workforce with inexperienced contingency staff.
  • The employer and corporate brands as people share their views and emotions on social media and ratings sites.
  • UK Plc as additional pressure is put on the state welfare and healthcare facilities.

You will probably think of many more stakeholders that lose out!

Detailing the above does not make for pleasant reading, or indeed an optimistic business case, but we unfortunately see many companies react immediately in this negative way during economic downturn.

Naturally a more positive stance during economic downturn would be to increase productivity in order to achieve the original business plan, which would have the alternative affect to those listed above, and create a much stronger company and employee proposition. Maybe doing this anyway would avert an organisation experiencing financial pressures in the first place!  – #justsayin

So how does an organisation do this?

There are many barriers to productivity, with stress topping the list according to the Health and Safety Executive, which in 2015/16 confirmed stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health. The biggest single reason over any other!

Just taking stress in isolation, businesses can literally put £M’s back on the bottom line by addressing it. There are multiple reasons for stress manifesting itself in the business, including a sub-optimal approach to; organisation design, company culture, hiring manger capability, staff attrition, change, internal communication, employee wellbeing and many more.

The first step to address the issue of stress in the business is to identify where it is and if it’s problematic or non-problematic. Once the problematic stress has been identified and the reasons evidenced, a series of business and HR transformation projects and activities can be validated and executed.

It sounds easy on paper, but I can assure you it’s not in practice, which is why we have invested heavily in, and refined, a range of strategy, consultancy and innovative diagnostic solutions that surface the data, interpret it and link the outputs to the correct remedial activities. We can even mobilise the teams to deliver the transformational projects and objectives.

Some will say it takes time to positively influence productivity so cutting overhead is a faster option. I agree it’s faster, but it is so demonstrably damaging, and the affects will be felt for much, much longer than a more positive, gradual and enjoyable path to personal and business success.

I have much more to say on the matter but that would leave no room for others to share their thoughts and insight below. I look forward to the discussion and debate, and any one to one conversations you would like to have regarding productivity in your own organisations.

All the very best.

Colin –