Top companies use downturn strategies to navigate through challenging times

The Times Top 60 is full of companies that have maintained employee morale, productivity and satisfaction during these recent bad times. • Many of the companies have thrived financially despite the downturn, making it easier to keep workers happy. But plenty of others on the list have done it despite pay cuts, layoffs and struggling just to stay afloat. • Here's a quick look at the downturn strategies employed by a handful of the Tampa Bay area's top places to work.

Large companies

No. 5 Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio

"We have employed cost-saving measures through all lines of business, refining processes and becoming more efficient. In addition, a hardship loan is available to employees to address a sudden unexpected economic crisis. To maintain performance, we employee the "7 Dimensions of Wellness" through employee services to address employee emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness."

Midsize companies

No. 5 Don CeSar Beach Resort

"Unfortunately, the hospitality business has felt the economic downturn heavily, as many families have cut back and canceled their vacations. Like many other companies, we had to do some layoffs. … To offer close to 40-hour workweeks, all departments post their activities and when they will need help in their areas, so other team members in other departments have the opportunity to work more hours. Finally, our main focus has been motivating our team members with activities such as the Spirit Week, National Thank You Day and theme days to keep morale up during these tough economic times."

No. 8 Oak Manor Senior Living Community

"We've found that by communicating to our staff the challenges we are facing, they pull together even more as stewards of our resources. As a result, we have yet to reduce our work force and have been able to continue to add jobs to the community."

No. 19 St. Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute

"St. Luke's considered the downturn an opportunity to improve our competitive position and gain market share. As such, we opened a new office in Hillsborough County in April 2009, and we are currently looking at two additional locations, one in Pasco and one in central Pinellas."

Small companies

No. 1 St. Mary's Episcopal Day School

"This past spring, our board of trustees authorized an additional 50 percent of budgeted financial aid funds for families that have been profoundly affected by the economic crisis this past year. Consequently, we not only met our budget this year, we were a couple of students over budget when we opened our doors in August. This allowed for all of our faculty to return."

No. 11 Office of Attorney General, Child Support Enforcement

"Competitions are held for employees that submit the most creative cost-saving ideas."

No. 12 Electric Supply Inc.

"In a world of downsizing, rightsizing, layoffs and re-engineered workplaces, we are very proud of the fact that no team member has ever been laid off from Electric Supply."

No. 22 Religious Community Services Inc.

"When the economy takes a downward turn, our business goes up, way up. … Yet as expected, the more need in our community, the less people have to give to support the work of RCS. However, as a means to bridge the growing gap in revenue and expenses, we have concentrated on going green. With the generosity of the city of Largo, we were able to purchase solar water heaters for our homeless families' shelter program as a way to cut utilities. We recycle our old furniture and unusable clothing to a local salvage company for pennies per pound. The items are shredded and used in developing nations for building materials, while providing revenue for us. Although money is tight, we found a local company to work with us on creating advertising on all our trucks. Since we drive to collect and deliver food throughout the county, this has helped us create stronger branding, generating more donations."

Top companies use downturn strategies to navigate through challenging times 03/21/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 2:47pm]

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