I received a newletter today from The Herman Group written by Joyce Gioia that was talking about “freecycling.” Freecycling is a concept I am familiar with, I have been doing it for years. It is giving away “stuff” to people who want your “stuff.” I have given away National Geographic magazines to home schoolers, wood scraps left over from woodworking projects, old sporting equipment (me and rollerblades were not a good thing), carpet samples to a woman who needed cage liners for her rabbits, and much more. It is a great idea and keeps stuff out of landfills that can serve a purpose for someone else. You can find out more about it by visiting the Wikipedia section The Freecycle Network or by going directly to their website, Freecycle.
Reading that got me to thinking, what about “freecycling” the employees you are “throwing out” in a headcount reduction? Why can’t you put together a list of employees, their skill sets and other “features” and email that list to other companies in your area or industry? This will give the employees a potential headstart on the job search process and you may save another company some time, effort and expense in finding workers. Mail the list to temp agencies, headhunters, Chambers of Commerce or anyone else who might find a “good use” for these displaced workers.
I think your employees will be grateful (thus reducing the chance of a lawsuit) and you may even get some good press in your community.
I have seen it work. A company that was going out of business contacted a client of mine, who was in a similar business, and said “we have these employees who will be available, do you want them?” My client took a good number, became heroes to those people, racked up all kinds of good will and on top of it picked business they did not have before. It was a win-win-win.
So rather than just handing out pink slips consider ways in which you might be able to “freecycle” you employees.