Certainly, there's a recessionn going on. But my perspective is that this recession, like all before it, spells "opportunity." And you're reading about that opportunity almost daily as major and minor companies alike go through downsizing. In the face of all this bad news, it's my belief that many companies use this backdrop to take actions that they might think twice about during growth periods.
What do I mean. If Corporation X announces that they're trimming staff by 10% during non-recession times, it will be front-page news and have many negative repercussions. During recessionary times, the news hardly makes the paper. Thus, it's this author's belief that alot of our current downsizing is opportunistic vs. necessary.
Which brings up some interesting points. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at the end of October, 2008, there were 33 people looking for work for every 10 openings in the U.S. Contrast that to the data at the beginning of 2008, which was 19 job seekers for every 10 positions. Certainly, the number is now likely approaching 4 to 1.
That means that you should have some good opportunity to readjust your staff if necessary. Certainly,it's my belief that this should rarely be the case if you're hiring right. If you've done your homework, the only people on your team should be top performers. But let's assume that you've one or two staff members that aren't performing as they should. Are they in the right job? Are they with the right firm? Now's the time to make that decision.
But what of those employees who are only biding their time until something better opens up outside of your firm? As reported in INC. Magazine, Zappos.com takes an interesting tack. During the first month of training with Zappos, new employees are offered $2000 to quit. Yep, I said to QUIT! Why? Zappos recognizes that training a new employee is expensive. They want people on their team who want to be there and who are passionate about customer service and the culture of the firm. Those that are not generally leave after six or nine months and, by that point,Zappos has invesed far more then $2000 in their training. Further, they recognize that employees who don't share their culture breed negativity.
So, ask yourself this question: Who on my team would leave if I offered $2000 for them to quit? If you come up with some names, perhaps it's time for you to take action?