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The ethics of workforce reductions

Where is the line exist between being thrifty and diligent with your cash and being a bloodthirsty cutthroat, sacrificing every ounce of your own ethical standards in order to squeeze that last penny out of your employees?

That sounds rather extreme, doesn’t it?  But that will be the viewpoint your employees take when you push them too far and take too much advantage of today’s job market.  It may seem ok to let go a few employees and then dump those responsibilities on those who remain, giving them little or no compensation for their increased workload and responsibilities, but where do you draw the line?  At what point does your conscience take over?  When do you reign in that desperate grab for cash before you alienate the very employees who keep your business running?

In today’s business environment, it’s tempting to toss a few employees into the four winds in order to shave your monthly payroll, but at what point is it really about survival and not simple greed and avarice?  Where is that line for your business?  Would you cut employees to stay afloat?  Most would say “of course,” it’s not pleasant but if it means the survival of the business it becomes a necessity.   What would be crossing the line between ensuring the survival of your business and becoming ruthless and self defeating? 

Say you are in real estate, would you sacrifice 10% of your workforce and risk employee burnout and increased turnover in order to pick up that sweet foreclosure property?

Situations like the one above really show the true nature of an employer and why any employee finding him or herself in that situation will in all likelihood burn, themselves out trying to keep what they see as their only possible job in a tough market while becoming increasingly resentful of an employer who shows no ethical leadership and a willingness to sacrifice their employees for less than ideal reasons.  It’s also a fairly safe bet that as soon as the job market improves, those employees who have been taken advantage of will be leaving very quickly at the first hint of an opportunity.

So how about it?  Where is that line for you?

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