Fast Company: “Downsizing Flexibility Champions”—Alternatives to Layoffs Honor Roll

When I recently co-presented on the “Using Workplace Flexibility as Part of a Downsizing Strategy” Flex Options teleconference for the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau (transcript now available here), I announced that I was going to start a list honoring organizations that used workplace flexibility to manage costs and minimize layoffs.

The goal is to inspire other leaders to work with their employees and create innovative strategies to flexibly manage through this crisis beyond the knee-jerk “cut” of mass layoffs.

Here’s a perfect example of how opening the dialogue with employees can result in creative solutions to reduce costs and avoid job cuts.  A colleague sits on the board of a not-for-profit.  During their last meeting, it was decided that the organization needed to make dramatic cost reductions.  Immediately, the director said, “I’m going to have to layoff people, but before I do that let me ask everyone if they have any other ideas.”  To her surprise, seven of the 20 staff members offered to reduce their schedule and pay.  And with that, she was able to avoid the layoffs she feared she was going to have to make.

Whether it’s reducing pay and schedules, telecommuting to save real estate costs, adding unpaid vacation days to the calendar, job sharing, having former employees consult on a project-basis or offering sabbaticals/furloughs, there are many creative applications of flexibility as part of a downsizing strategy.  And it’s not just an “option to consider,” but a matter of global stability.

The List – The Downsizing Flexibility Champions… (Click here for more)