Minimize disgruntled workers through furloughs

Are you a business owner hit by the recession that is considering layoffs but has worries about disgruntled workers?  Do you need to save some money but don't want to lose intellectual property to your ex-employees?  If so, maybe you should consider furloughs.

Yes, furloughs.  Though not the main focus of the piece, USA Today discussed in an article how furloughs can save your company money while also lessening your risk of disgruntled workers causing harm.  Basically, you are giving your employees unpaid time off instead of giving them the ol' heave-ho.  Though employees still go through a finiacial burden, they can see a light at the end of the tunnel instead of being turned out on the street facing a tough job market.  And from the perspective of security, you have an individual less likely to become disgruntled and possibly causing the company harm because they don't want to risk losing the job that is still waiting for them after their time off.

It's a tough break, but furloughed employees could have it much worse, says Marion Crain, an employment and labor law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Employees are often "upset and angry" when they first hear about the unpaid leaves, she says. But they're better off than many who'll be handed pink slips or forced to take less pay for the same amount of work.

Obviously this is not a fool-proof method for stopping harm through the actions of disgruntled workers, but the risk is likely significantly reduced.  I think it is definitely a consideration for companies who still have some business in the pipeline but who have slowed down for a time.

If you are a security professional who works at a company facing layoffs, you might consider suggesting this to management from a risk perspective, especially if the company makes high use of intellectual property or has a large sales staff.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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