The global conversation around workforce has changed dramatically over the past week. Closer to home, here in CT the workforce went from needing thousands of workers to a screeching halt in hiring. Conversations are swirling with action plans that include best efforts for preservation of business and preservation of the workforce.

According to Ron Angelo, President and CEO of Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), “Connecticut is composed of a diverse mix of multi-industry manufacturers performing military and commercial work, ranging in size from global organizations to small start ups. That said, there is no one solution that works across the CT landscape. The State will need to work to develop flexible and impactful programs that can be easily adopted by the business community.”

Below are some best practices to address the evolving workforce conditions that many manufacturers, like you, are facing.

Separate employees to preserve business continuity.

Create split shifts to isolate segments of a workforce. This model allows half the workforce to work one shift, provides time to sanitize the workplace following shift one and then allows the second shift to enter.  This separation provides protection for half of the workforce in the event someone is identified with the virus. Alternatively,  you may institute a two week on, two week off schedule.

Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment is the absolute new norm.

Photo Credit: Austin Distel

Take advantage of reliable sources to get business support.

Manufacturing associations such as CCAT and CT Smaller Manufacturers Association and other CT based organizations like Small Business Association (SBA) and CT Main St Center are providing reliable and easily accessible information for businesses to tap into.

Below is a list of some of these reliable sources. Signing up for their newsletter will enable you to receive the updates they send regarding current social conditions.

U.S Small Business Administration - COVID-19

COVID-19 CT Main St Resources

CT Government - "Stay Safe, Stay Home"

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency

New Haven Manufacturers Association

Be realistic and address the hard decisions.

While no one wants to reduce their headcount, your business will serve no value if it is not able to survive. Some companies are asking employees to work a reduced number of hours, or a temporary layoff, known as a furlough, to help keep the ship afloat. According to Leesa Schipani, Partner with Kardas Larson Human Resources Consulting, “Furloughs allow employees to claim unemployment benefits and organizations send a message that they intend to bring the workforce back as the economic situation improves.”

If furloughs are just not possible it may be time to consider the underperformers on your team. While no time is ever good for reducing workforce, keeping your business stable needs to be your priority for the greater good of your workforce.

Identify workforce dependencies and where the greatest risks lie.

If time still allows, identify a comfortable duration of time in which the business can operate and immediately begin to create back up plans. With the increasing warnings about the length of time this virus will take to pass, any planning is valuable to keep the business in whatever form of operation can safely be sustained.

Photo Credit: Laurel and Michael Evans

Consider alternate forms of revenue to survive this unique period.

The population as a whole is being asked to make changes and adjustments far beyond what anyone could have predicted. While certain ideas may not have fit your former strategic plan, in these turbulent times it is wise to explore alternate possibilities and be open to creative means that may allow your business to flourish during this period.

Through collective impact we can support one another now and the days ahead as work ultimately returns to a new form of normal for many manufacturers. CT Manufacturers Resource Group pledges to support those efforts and lend the best resources to help you get your business back on the road to success. Onward to better days ahead.

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