We appear to be in a global recession – companies all over are struggling to deal with impact of economic slowdown. In an attempt to maintain profits, companies are drastically reducing their spending and also trimming down their workforce. It is anticipated that one-fourth of the employers in the US will undergo workforce reduction in 2009. As a result of pessimism and uncertainty about future, there is an increased level of anxiety amongst the employees. There are a few issues that a chemical manufacturing firm must address to ensure safe operation during the downturn:
- Morale of the workers: The glooming uncertainty about jobs and increased level of anxiety leads to a disinterest amongst employees. It makes workers less productive and starts affecting their day-to-day decisions including the ones regarding safety.
- Procedural risk mitigation: There are many potentially dangerous scenarios where procedures are put in place as risk mitigation measures. In a state of anxiety and worry, a worker is more likely to commit an resulting in serious consequences.
- Loss of knowledgeable personnel: Trimming of workforce may result in loss of valuable tacit knowledge in the form of experienced employees.
- Scheduled maintenance: As a cost cutting measure, an operating company may decide to delay planned maintenance. John Bresland of CSB talks about this issues in the video below:
Recommendations for Managers
- Revisit your high risk scenarios that require procedural risk mitigation measures. It may be worthwhile to investigate automation instead of human intervention.
- Figure out ways to cheer employees and keep them in an upbeat mood. If you have any suggestions on boosting employee moral please write them in the comments section below this post.
- Here is a free e-book (Author: Wendy Mack) – How to Prevent Panic and Promote Productivity in Turbulent Times.