It has been years since the start of the recession, but the recovery has been slow and the business world is in flux. Many companies have laid off employees in an effort to cut down on costs. Others have weighed the benefits of retaining a productive team and decided to look for other ways to cut costs, rather than have to let go of good workers. Some of these employers have come up with remarkable, innovative, or downright bizarre tactics to cut costs.
A recent example: a Walmart’s charity food drive – organized for Walmart staff. The event, naturally, wound up getting the company in some trouble online, with a memorable, heated Twitter exchange between Ashton Kutcher and Walmart highlighting the absurdity of rich companies’ employees struggling to put food on the table. Still, some saw Walmart’s charity effort as an instance of creative marketing that created a generally positive impact on a majority of consumers.
Other unusual cost-cutting measures that have been found to be effective include strategies like reducing the work-week to 3 or 4 day work-weeks, offering unpaid leave and mandatory vacations for employees, hardballing when it comes to choosing supplies from vendors, flexible scheduling and work-from-home options for employees, and reducing or eliminating executive-level bonuses.
The objective behind opting for these measures rather than layoffs is easy to understand. Profit-making in a teetering economy is hard as it is. Letting go of good workforce seems to be counter-intuitive to these out-of-the-box employers. The process of re-hiring and training a new set of employees after the recession passes creates its own problems. Additionally, employees are also particularly tolerant of the penny-pinching measures employers are taking. Most are willing make a few sacrifices – such as pay cuts – in exchange for the guarantee of still having a job 6 months later.
Of the many unusual (but effective) cost-cutting methods, here is a roundup of 10 of the most bizarre cost-cutting strategies employed by big businesses.
10. Ryanair: Urging air-hostesses to slim down to save fuel costs (Savings yet to be measured)
Ryanair is known for its bizarre cost-cutting methods. Some recent suggestions that (thankfully) haven’t been approved include coin-operated restrooms, removal of arm-rests, and offering X-rated films on-board. The latest effort of the airlines to reduce the load on fuel is to encourage air-hostesses to lose weight – and get the chance to appear on the annual Girls of Ryanair calendar. This may be a bizarre approach to saving on fuel, but it fits with the company’s philosophy. Ryanair is an active supporter of the controversial ‘fat tax’ that would charge overweight passengers for adding extra mass to the airplane.