FURLOUGH MANAGEMENT

October 23, 2020
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A fresh new concept

COVID 19 is killing us. No secret about that. Business is down to crumbs of its old self. The first massive furloughs took place early spring. The idea was that COVID 19 would be over by summer (warm weather – you know). That just did not happen. And we are entering the worst season (at least worst to date). That implies two consequences in your furlough policy: those you were due to call back from the initial batch, you are not calling back. Those who served you loyally and became your skeletal management crew since spring… you will need to let go.

Fast forward as long as needed (6 months, 12 months, 18 months, whatever): the virus seems to have gone away or the vaccines worked miracles. Business is coming back. How do you ”manage” your furloughs? Who is where and do you bring them back?

For one thing, I recommend that any furlough ought to be documented in detail by your Director of Human Resources (unless you furloughed him/her. NOT SMART.) to track down and evaluate the “return potential” of each furloughed employee and executive.

Remember one does catch flies with vinegar: circumstances hurt those people and you happened to be the messenger. Become the messenger of good news. DO NOT rehire blindly or randomly. Your corporate culture takes a long time and a lot of money to sink into a staff member. You do not want to start from scratch with a bunch of tenderfeet.

Pick the superstars, although chances are many have found alternate jobs during their furlough. Will you have to pay a “welcome back” bonus at a time when cash flow is tight? How much is a well-trained employee worth to you? These people you let go overnight several months ago, may still have a bitter taste in their mouth: what is wrong with “buying back” their loyalty?

Just food for thought.

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