While Canadian companies have been spared the brunt of the economical downfall currently faced by our American and European neighbors, times are still tough for many Canadian enterprises and one of the most difficult decisions for a business owner is whether or not to reduce staff.
Not only can it be emotional to let go of a long-time employee, but you may also be hesitant knowing that you could need this person should things pick up again. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Research government programs or subsidies which could help your business. To name a few:
- Emploi-Quebec offers many programs to help companies in various financial situations, whether it is growth or downturn. By contacting your company’s representative through the Services aux Entreprises you will be able to find out if there are any measures suited to your company’s situation.
- Service Canada is currently offering a Work-Sharing program through which companies can cut employee’s hours by 20% to 60% and employees will be eligible for Employment Insurance for the days unpaid.
- Service Canada is also offering a Work Force Reduction program through which employees can volunteer to leave their jobs to preserve the jobs of co-workers and still qualify for benefits.
- Work with your group insurance broker to find ways to modify your plan and reduce your premiums at your next renewal.
- Re-examine other employee benefits and perks. A lot of small savings here and there can add up quickly. For example, have a more modest holiday party in the office or in a pub instead of at a fancy restaurant.
- Communicate issues to employees and get them involved. Be clear as to what is happening and what the company is doing to turn around the situation. Improper communication could lead to your best employees deciding to look elsewhere if they feel the ship is sinking and that no plan is in place to correct it. As well, employees are often best placed to identify cost-cutting measures and inefficiencies.
- Ask employees if they are interested in voluntarily cutting their hours. There may be employees who would be interested in working part-time or who would like to take an unpaid leave of absence to travel.
- Measures such as asking employees to work 9 days out of 10 can help the company reduce the salary mass by 10% without the employees being affected too harshly.
Winter 2013 (download the PDF)