More companies seek creative alternatives to layoffs

In this downturn, some companies are trying cost-cutting measures such as reducing workweeks, offering or requiring unpaid time off, or cutting executive compensation.

We blogged earlier this month about some companies trying creative responses to the recession, including reducing employees' hours rather than laying staff off. The New York Times this week reported that there's a trend: An increasing numbers of organizations are seeking to cut labor costs but avert or limit layoffs -- so they are trying measures such as reducing workweeks, offering or requiring unpaid time off, or eliminating bonuses. According to The New York Times,  

Companies seem particularly determined to find alternatives to layoffs in this recession, said Jennifer Chatman, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. “Organizations are trying to cut costs in the name of avoiding layoffs,” she said. “It’s not just that organizations are saying ‘we’re cutting costs,’ they’re saying: ‘we’re doing this to keep from losing people.’ ”

Also this week, Caterpillar Inc. announced that it will it will cut compensation for executives and managers (but particularly executive compensation, which the company may cut by up to 50% for 2009) and offer a voluntary buyout option to U.S. employees.