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Management

How to Handle Workforce Downsizing in a Tough Economy

downsizing the business

downsizing the business

Organizational downsizing is always a difficult task to undertake, but there comes a time in the life of every business where it occurs for one reason or another. Even highly successful companies like Microsoft and Apple have had to take this uncomfortable step. Sometimes it’s planned to improve efficiencies, other times it’s an unwelcome surprise like the GFC event of 2007 – 2008. That bought a lot of businesses to their knees and the downsizing was more about survival. There were lots of company fatalities too and that meant lots of workers competing suddenly for new jobs.

There doesn’t need to be a big event to force your hand into downsizing. Changes in the market, including ongoing innovation, and technology advancements like use of artificial intelligence results in products and services no longer in demand and that can mean a huge dent in sales revenue unless of course it’s your business that’s doing the innovation!

Startups can also expand too fast or their expansion doesn’t go to plan so the business needs to scale back in order to move forward again. From a career viewpoint, there is a line of thought, that working in a redundancy or two is a good thing. It can lead to a better role or change in direction altogether.

Organizational downsizing has been around for many years so there’s a lot of intellectual capital in the public domain for businesses to use. Breaking the news to the staff affected will take diplomacy so here are some suggested ways to deal with a workforce downsizing.

Consult with Experts

From a legal perspective, there are certain considerations for companies worried about proprietary technology and other company secrets. Depending on the sensitive nature of the position held, some employees may need to be managed differently through the downsizing process than others.

A consultant that regularly deals with company layoffs is best positioned to advise on what the standard procedure is for companies to protect themselves. Certainly, the company can choose to have one of their senior managers deal with the layoffs, or the individual department heads. However, if they choose to perform the layoffs internally, then those staff should undergo training so that the whole process is performed in a consistent, fair and reasonable manner.

Provide Useful Services to Help Departing Employees Find Employment

Depending on the length of time that the employee has been with the company, their resume may have become dated and needs updating. Trends in resume design also wax and wane. A new resume format is not a bad idea to give their resume a fresh look. Providing the resources to departing employees for how they can update their resume to apply for a new position at another company is one of the most helpful things a company can do.

When they have industry contacts, calling around other companies to find out what positions are available may open the doors to employment opportunities. A referral to call a contact at another company in the same industry is not a bad idea if all parties open to it. Some employees will be sufficiently upset to not want to accept any direct help from the company, seeing the layoff as a form of betrayal. In this situation, the company should not push on the issue. These people will have to find their own way but may get back in contact later to ask about the referral once they’ve had time to calm down and analyze their options carefully.

Layoffs Don’t Happen in Isolation

While it’s easy to think about the layoffs from the necessity of them to the company, the reality is that it will affect employees’ lives in a very real way. The staff getting the axe will feel it emotionally and financially, and the remaining employees will feel continual uncertainty with the fear that they’re next on the chopping block.

The rumor mill being what it is, that the company has been considering layoffs for a while won’t have gone unnoticed by clued-in employees. For the ones who either aren’t busy enough day-to-day or who know that they’re not vital to the continued operation of their department, they already typically have some idea that the day could come. That doesn’t make it much easier for them emotionally though because depending on their history with the company, they have a lot emotionally invested there.

A Departing Employee’s Needs Are Important

For the departing employee, they will have several worries about what happens now. If they have many possessions on their desk and in their desk drawer, how will they carry these all out of the building? For employees with considerable personal items and no form of transport, then the company should pay for a taxi to bring them home rather have them use the metro with a box in their arms heightening their embarrassment.

It will depend on the employee, their role in the company and the policy of the business whether they will be working out the month, leaving at the end of the week or right after they’ve been formally notified that they’re being laid off.

In terms of offering a settlement, employees losing their position are often not sitting on considerable cash savings even if they have investments in the form of a 401(k). They won’t want to access the 401(k) and take the tax penalty to get back some of the money there. Many Americans have less than one month’s salary in savings that they can access due to living from paycheck-to-paycheck. Given this reality, a satisfactory settlement offer that allows them to financially survive long enough to find a replacement position is a priority once they have taken in the news that their position is going away.

What’s most important is to handle any downsizing with professionalism. Former employees need to feel some sensitivity to the situation they’re being put in, even if the company is not able to offer much in compensation.

Management

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace

food

foodA healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.

Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.

Use Snack Services

There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.

However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.

Incentivize your Employees

There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.

Do not Neglect Break Time

You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.

Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture

If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.

Conclusion

Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.

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Management

How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer

self publish a book

how to overcome writer's blockIf you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.

There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.

Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.

There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.

Job Boards

There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.

Start a Blog

Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.

Guest Post

As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.

Self-Publish your Own Books

Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.

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Management

4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings

stress ball

stress ball

Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.

Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.

Visuals

One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.

Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.

However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.

Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.

Recording Device

One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.

The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.

However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.

Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.

Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.

Stress Ball

This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.

Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.

People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.

A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.

Whiteboard

When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.

Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.

Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.

Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.

Conclusion

These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.

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