Employers might cut pay, rather than fire workers! by Olivia "Grace" Friedman

“Take a deep breath, quiet your mind, and relax, to find solutions.”

Year of the Woman 2020 and Beyond | Why We Need More Women in Positions of Power
Employers Might Try Cutting Pay Instead of Cutting Jobs

As a woman having owned a mid-size transportation company in a male-dominated industry that quickly became part of the critical infrastructure of several communities and counties within our state, I survived several downturns of the economy, that adversely affected the industry for nearly every business in my region, at one time or another. Many businesses closed their doors, for lack of creativity, and at other times, lack of resources. Whether extremely high gas prices where I would give drivers a stipend to help them through the gas price hikes, natural disasters where we all pulled together to do whatever needed to be done, or another major event that took place due to no fault of my own, or my employees and contractors – no matter what crises showed up, we were able to get through it together, and did not have to close our doors. Of course, Covid-19 is not a typical crises, not at all. In fact, the Coronavirus is a global pandemic, which makes it extremely hard to try and recover from, yet there is hope!

The concept of hope in our resilience as fellow business owners is not a new one. Yet it’s also the very reason why we should not only embrace the change and try harder to settle into our new norm, we should also learn how to quickly adapt, in order to survive and flourish again. I have hosted several podcasts toward that end recently – helping small businesses all around the nation, to find unique and creative ways of remaining in business, as opposed to folding.

Remembering USF Holland and so many other corporations, small businesses included, is evidence that cutting pay can sometime help keep not only employees afloat in an economic downturn or crises such as now with Covid-19, yet can also help to keep the employer in business. USF Holland started with I believe a 5% cut, then went to a 10% cut, and their loyal employees remained and stuck it out. I tended to hear what these employees were going through – first hand, given the close relationship we all had with USF Holland employees, since we transported them on a regular basis as well as the staff and employees who ran the railroads. If you don’t remember anything else, remember the idea is to pull together as employer and employees, to weather the storm, and to recover and prosper again. That’s how it should be done!

All things considered, we might all wonder why so many large corporations are laying off so many people, yet are not giving them the option to pay them less instead, wherever allowed. Sure, we know we’re living in an era where we have no idea what to do, since the times we are living in are unprecedented, and demand 110% of most of us on a daily basis; especially since our children are at home, and in most instances, our spouse – is also at home. Yet the question remains, why are employers not able to find a way to innovate and change job duties possibly, and to cut pay as opposed to letting people go from their jobs when they have their entire family depending upon them.

Fact is, for those who could still go to work if they were still employed – to miss a fine details such as this that could quite possibly offer some relief to so many employees, contractors and employers alike – is shocking. The question again is, why hasn’t his alternative been explored – on a national if not world-wide basis? What are your thoughts?

Let’s brainstorm together as it is time for innovation. If we’re talking an open space with several restaurants cooking within them, while still practicing social distancing and ensuring each section has their own restroom, we may simply be referring to a new type of build out for restaurants to do carry out only. You remember the church as a little girl or boy where the sanctuary after service, is converted into an event hall? They don’t call me the “Bozoma Saint John of the South” for no reason. I have answers few others do, it is my gift.

If you don’t remember anything else from this article, know this – “I believe in you.”. I know that if you are a business owner that is currently pulling your hair out, trying to find a way to remain in business in such trying times, that you will at some point, remember tough times already endured and the lessons already learned to draw wisdom from, as well as that of the experiences of other business owners. Have a meeting of the minds and share your situations. “Let’s work it out together as business owners, as a country, as a people.”

If Madam C.J. Walker could make it happen in those dire times, we already know there is a way out of this for us, employees, and contractors that will eventually make us whole again.

Thank you for reading, and know that my primary goal is to assist you with decreasing your stress and worry amid all the uncertainty we are all faced with in business, career, and in life as a whole. I’d love to hear from you so please do comment below. Business owner to business owner, you have a friend in me. Let’s get to trust one another by sharing ideas, and bouncing them off of one another right here on Thrive On Campus. I have answers, that may assist your overall anxiety and frustration given current times.

Comments are more than welcome!

(Article originally drafted March 12, 2020)