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  • Weathering Storms:Human Resources in Difficult Times

  • Weathering Storms:Human Resources in Difficult Times

    Society for Human Resource Management | Alexandria, Virginia | USAwww.shrm.org | 2008

  • Contents | vi

    This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information regarding the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering legal or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent, licensed professional should be sought. The federal and state laws discussed in this book are subject to frequent revision and interpretation by amendments or judicial revisions that may significantly affect employer or employee rights and obligations. Readers are encouraged to seek legal counsel regarding specific policies and practices in their organizations.

    This book is published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations in this book are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the publishers.

    Copyright 2008 Society for Human Resource Management. All rights reserved.

    This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Society for Human Resource Management, 1800 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the worlds largest professional association devoted to human resource management. Our mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most current and comprehensive resources, and to advance the profession by promoting HRs essential, strategic role. Founded in 1948, SHRM represents members in over 140 countries, and has a network of more than 575 affiliated chapters in the United States, as well as offices in China and India. Visit SHRM at www.shrm.org.

    Interior and Cover Design: James McGinnis, Kellyn Lombardi

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Weathering storms: human resources in difficult times. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 978-1-58644-134-01. Personnel management. I. Society for Human Resource Management (U.S.) HF5549.W4114 2008658.3--dc22 2008045835Printed in the United States of America.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    Contents

    08-0637

    Introduction: Making the Right Decisions During Economic Downturns

    (Peter Cappelli) ............................................................................................................... 1

    Part I: Proactive HR Solutions

    1. When Business HiccupsThe Prepared HR Pro (John Sweeney) ..................... 8

    2. Managing Employees in a Downsized Environment (Marcia Scott, MD) ..........10

    3. Managing a Downturn (Susan J. Wells) ..............................................................14

    4. Riding Out the Storm with Clear Explanations (Steve Taylor) .......................... 20

    5. Many Plan To Scale Back Benefits, Pay Raises as Economy Slows

    (Stephen Miller) .................................................................................................. 24

    6. As Staffing Slips, Recruiters Must Work Harder (Theresa Minton-Eversole) ... 26

    7. Recruiting Grads (Theresa Minton-Eversole) .................................................... 30

    8. Address Financial Ills To Reduce Other Workplace Problems

    (Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR) ........................................................................... 34

    9. Prune Employees Carefully (Adrienne Fox) ....................................................... 38

    10. Reduction in Force and Employees with Performance Problems .................... 44

    11. Employers Using Benefits To Help Employees Fill the Tank ............................. 46

    12. Tighter Times, Leaner Technology (Jennifer Taylor Arnold) ............................. 48

    13. Soft Real Estate Market Impacts Corporate Relocation Programs

    (Stephen Miller) .................................................................................................. 54

    14. Personalized Transition: Workers Are Demanding More Sophisticated

    Outplacement Services (Donna M. Owens) ...................................................... 56

    15. Easing the Burden of Financial Stress in the Workplace (Elizabeth Agnvall) ... 62

    16. Easing the Burden of Employees Debt (Peter Weaver and Gina Rollins) ........ 66

    17. Employee Forgivable Loans (Anne St. Martin) .................................................. 72

    18. Keep Workers 401(k)-Focused (Nancy Hatch Woodward)................................74

    19. The Difference between a Furlough, a Layoff, and a Reduction in Force ........ 80

    20. Selecting Employees for Layoff ......................................................................... 84

  • vii | Contents Introduction | 1

    Part II: The Tools: Definitions, Guidelines, Sample Policies, Letters,

    and Forms

    21. WARN Notice ..................................................................................................... 90

    22. Older Workers Act Waiver.................................................................................. 92

    23. Letter of Transfer ................................................................................................ 94

    24. Transportation Benefit Plan Enrollment/Change/Cancellation Form ............... 96

    25. Transportation Benefit Plan Reimbursement Request ..................................... 98

    26. Telecommuting Application ............................................................................. 100

    27. Compressed Workweek .................................................................................. 102

    28. Flextime Request Form .................................................................................... 106

    29. Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement .......................................................... 108

    30. Alternative Work Schedule Policy .....................................................................110

    31. Job-Sharing Memo of Understanding..............................................................112

    32. Summer Flextime Policy ...................................................................................114

    33. Summer Flextime Request Form ......................................................................116

    34. Take the Summer Off Program Policy ..............................................................118

    35. Work Sabbatical Policy .....................................................................................120

    36. Work Sabbatical Leave Form............................................................................124

    37. Voluntary Reduction in Force (RIF) Separation Program ................................126

    38. 401(k) Plan: Hardship Withdrawal Request..................................................... 130

    39. Layoff and Recall Policy .................................................................................. 134

    40. Low-Need Time ................................................................................................ 136

    41. Separation Agreement and Release of Claims ............................................... 138

    42. Reduction in Force Selection and Severance Pay ...........................................142

    43. Involuntary Termination Policy ..........................................................................146

    44. Sample Letter: Benefits Changes Due to Reduction in Hours ........................148

    45. Sample Letter: Layoff or RIFLack of Work ....................................................150

    46. Sample Letter: Reduction in ForceDeclining Sales ......................................152

    47. Sample Letter: Termination Because of Layoff, Downsizing, Etc. .................. 154

    Conclusion: After the Layoff: How Are You Feeling? (Adrienne Fox) ................... 156

    Additional Resources ...............................................................................164

    About the Contributors ............................................................................168

    Endnotes .....................................................................................................170

    Index .............................................................................................................172

    Introduction

    Making the Right Decisions During Economic Downturns

    Peter Cappelli

    Layoffs represent a relatively new challenge for the human resource function. The option of laying off workers raises fundamental, strategic questions such as when to do them, how to carry them out, and even whether to do them at all. The notion of layoffs, at least the way we think of them now, is a relatively new phenomenon. Layoffs represent the involuntary termination of employees for reasons other than the performance of the employees. Through the 1970s, companies laid off workers only as a last resort, and then only production workers (almost never white-collar employees), typically only when the recessions associated with business cycles forced demand for products sharply down. Even in those circumstances, layoffs were temporary: Employees could expect to be rehired when demand picked back up. These arrangements were formalized in unionized operations wi

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