Balancing act with layoffs: Profits vs. people by Jim Stratton for the Orlando Sentinel

Excerpt from a larger article posted January 26, 2014

But the notion that they must try to squeeze profit out of every dollar — reducing staff whenever possible, for example – “is the mantra of the business world,” Henderson said, “not a legal obligation.”

It’s a mantra that makes Julie Norris uncomfortable. Like Sharp, Norris is a small-business owner. She runs Dandelion Communitea Café near downtown Orlando. Her politics are progressive and her approach to business unconventional.

When times have been bad, Norris has had to trim staff. But she said that when her financials are healthy, she’s loath to let anyone go, even if it means leaving some money on the table.

“I think we do have a responsibility to the people who make our business run every day,” she said.

Norris thinks that mindset is easier to foster at a small company. She knows all her employees and can tell you who’s expecting a baby or who’s helping care for an elderly parent. So she’s painfully aware, she said, “of what it will mean to those people to lose a job.”

The approach works for Norris, but she admits she’s not sure it would fly at a bigger organization. Not without some formal structure that forces a company to work for shareholders, customers and workers all at once — a so-called “stakeholder capitalism” model.

“I work at such a small scale,” she said. “At the corporate level, you don’t know who your employees are.”

Read the Entire Article Here.

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