Some companies are searching hard for alternatives to downsizing. A May 2009 article in Ode magazine (“How to cut costs and keep your employees”) recognizes several CEOs who are trying to protect workers. Faced with a need to cut costs, Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, asked the hospital’s 6,200 full-time employees for ideas on how to avoid layoffs. Thousands showed up for the series of brainstorming sessions, and together they came up with a plan to save about 450 jobs by cutting pay, benefits, and other costs. Levy himself took a 10% pay cut and declined a 30% bonus.
Similarly, Toyota and FedEx have cut executive pay and bonuses. A Massachusetts engineering firm organized job shares so people worked fewer hours but didn’t lose their jobs. A Kansas trailer hitch manufacturer pays employees to work on civic projects when the factory is idle, and a global law firm “lends” junior staff to needy community organizations while continuing to pay them reduced salaries.