Valdosta Daily Times

July 31, 2013

Don’t cut employees first

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Anyone in business knows, or should know, two things: the first is that if the business takes care of its employees, the employees will take care of the business, and the second is that even though human resources is the largest expense in nearly every business, it should be the last area to cut when you are making reductions.

Much ado has been made in recent years about making do with what you have, increasing workloads rather than hiring more employees, along with industry buzzwords and phrases such as “work smarter, not harder,” “empowerment,” “strategic realignment” and the list goes on and on. All mean generally the same thing — fewer employees with increased workloads.

Many businesses have implemented cost-saving strategies as the economy has taken its toll in recent years on every sector of the marketplace. But part of being responsible employers is making those cost savings in non-employee areas first. Supplies, vendor contracts, consulting fees, ancillary services, executive perks and the like are typically areas that can realize savings with minimal impact on an organization.

And even when the paring gets down to the level that human capital is affected, most employees are supportive and understanding when they realize that everything else that could be done has been done and it’s their turn to make sacrifices.

But no organization should be surprised if employees become bitter and disenfranchised when they feel that they are the first area to be affected, with no apparent sacrifices on the part of management and no other cost savings implemented.

Employees can be your greatest asset, your largest allies, your best marketing tools, or they can be your greatest burden, your most stringent enemies and your largest detractors.

No apparent cost savings is worth the loss of your employee good will.