Keeping heart when times are hard

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By The Staff

Raising morale while cutting costs during an economic downturn is one of the toughest jobs a manager can face.

To succeed, managers must be honest with employees about the need to reduce costs, including those associated with wages and benefits.

Accurate information is imperative, and managers can pre-empt the toxic effects of speculation and rumors by being open and truthful about the company’s performance. Well-informed workers can focus on the company’s business rather than being distracted by anxiety about their future and the company’s.

Rank-and-file wisdom

Workers can be a valuable resource when it’s necessary to cut costs. A company that asks workers what benefits they most value might discover that it’s spending money on unnecessary perks.

Employees might prefer a less expensive benefits package if they know what’s in it and how it affects them. Workers also can be asked to choose between other benefits, such as raises or vacation days.

They might be willing to forgo regular raises in favor of performance-based bonuses.

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