Tips for Managing Personnel Costs

Vendors weigh in on the difficult decisions they've had to make to reduce payroll.

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Human Resources
Employee-retention expert Chason Hecht, president of Retensa, shares his top personnel management tips for today’s tough times.


Be honest. “We need to relate everything we know, when we know it, even if we don’t know anything at all,” Hecht said.

Be creative with cost cutting. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. saved $1.5 million when it decided not to replace fancy lighting on an employee soda-vending machine in the break rooms of every Wal-Mart store.

Take one for the team. Salary cuts or freezes apply to executives, too.

Think long term.
The recession will eventually end. Who would you like to see on your staff when business is growing again?

Keep benefits that provide a return on investment. A company that values education shouldn’t cut tuition reimbursement, for instance.


Don’t reach for the axe until you’ve tried the scalpel. Layoffs are a last resort. “We need to maintain our reserves to ensure that when the economic cycle returns, we are primed to succeed,” Hecht said.

Don’t get into a “space race” with benefits. Pick the ones that are right for your company. Don’t offer something just because your competition does.

Don’t just write a check.
The higher up an executive, the more his or her pay should be based on performance.

Don’t overlook inexpensive benefits.
Staff recognition doesn’t have to be costly.

Don’t forget who’s important.
“The stakeholders with the longest-term interest [in the company] are the employees,” Hecht said.

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