Don't sack the workers, change the business

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Don't sack the workers, change the business

Smart companies shouldn't rush to sack their workers when the economy plunges, rather they should look at restructuring their businesses, says a Queensland academic.

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Smart companies shouldn't rush to sack their workers when the economy plunges, rather they should look at restructuring their businesses, says a Queensland academic.
 
Professor Kerry Brown of QUT's School of Management says employers should not panic and dismiss workers in the face of daily doses of gloomy business news but instead develop new or revamp old business models to ride out the storm.
 
‘Less than a year ago employees were viewed as a business's main asset,’ Professor Brown said.
 
Create solutions
 
‘That has not changed. Your employees were hired in the first place because they added value to your business — get them to help create solutions.’
 
Professor Brown said that while the financial crisis was deep and widespread, not all businesses would be affected in the same way.
 
‘The question is do we really need to sack employees or is there some way we can “work it out”?’ she said.
 
Downturn won’t last forever
 
‘After all, a lot of time and money was spent in recruiting them and the downturn won't last forever.’
 
Professor Brown said examples from earlier times teach us about industry adaptation.
 
‘For example, in post-war Italy, the closure of a large hosiery manufacturing plant gave employees the opportunity to buy the equipment and start a vibrant, highly successful industry cluster with more than 400 small- and medium-sized enterprises in the area,’ she said.
 
Professor Brown said employees should be engaged and encouraged to suggest ways to keep the business operating and their jobs intact.
 
Change work practices
 
‘It could be by changing work practices,’ she said.
 
'Employers could offer flexible work arrangements that are less costly to their business such as remote working or working from home, job share, flexible working hours, part-time work — there are many flexible options that can cut costs.’
 
Professor Brown said the key to sustaining business was being open to innovate, revamp or adopt older models of business.
 
‘Interlinking businesses through relational or networked chains of services; sharing of group services such as marketing, training, even personnel; greater focus on ideas brokering and trading and sharing of information from trusted sources are emergent models that may more easily withstand the global crisis,’ she said.
 
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