Brad Sugars’ recent posting to his Blog

Brad is the founder and Chairman of my company. This is good stuff!!

American Workers in a Rut, But Companies Can Be Coached Out of Layoffs

January 26th, 2010 by Contributor
Laid off workers will likely find temp jobs, not full time work. Laid off workers will likely find temp jobs, not full time work. 

In a recent Business Week cover story, the magazine wrote about the situation many, many Americans are in: they’re temp workers. They’re easy to let go, have no benefits and work several jobs each day just to get by.

Economists forecast the same miserable situation for the next five to 10 years – several independent workers with no health insurance, no retirement benefits, no sick days, no vacation, no severance and no access to unemployment insurance. But even so, the few people interviewed for Business Week’s story who are temporary, contract or freelance workers, call themselves lucky.

You know workers are in bad shape when a low-paying, no-benefits job is considered a really good deal.

This fact – that temps and contract workers don’t cost companies hardly anything in this economy, since there will definitely be someone willing to work for a lower price – is a benefit to companies everywhere, but a detriment to temp/contract/freelance workers. The recession has accelerated trends to the extreme—including offshoring, automation, the decline of labor unions’ influence, new management techniques, and regulatory changes—that already had been eroding workers’ economic standing.

Despite Business Week’s story, some companies have used the recession to their advantage, without furthering the temp workers’ dismal situation. Take Marion Mixers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who decided to have a few business coaching sessions. ActionCOACH Business Coach David Drewelow helped the company take advantage of the recession in a different way. Instead of hiring temp workers after laying off six people from his 40-person company, the company did some restructuring, figuring out, of the existing employees, who was best at what, who fit in at what role and who could multi-task duties. Marion Mixers was busy restructuring because it wasn’t busy (it had a 40 percent slowdown in business from 2008 to 2009), and now that the recession seems to be looking up for businesses, the company is in a great position. In fact, they could even afford to hire more workers.

It’s not always about cutting costs and cutting people; sometimes a company can retain its employees and do other things, like restructure the company, to stay more than afloat during a bad economic time.

How might you coach a business through a recession? More importantly for business owners, how can you make sure your business stays healthy at all times?

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