Navigating furloughs and closing portions of your business

COVID 19 has changed the business landscape overnight, closing businesses and forcing owners to furlough employees indefinitely.  Every day more workers are sent home, while business leaders grapple with surviving the current crisis and being ready to function when this is all behind us.  It is time to think now about getting back to business as usual on the other side.

3.3 million unemployment claims were filed last week, shattering the record, and next weekly period will be more of the same.  We are stepping into an extremely volatile employment market, with both pitfalls and opportunity for businesses.  Here are some steps to take to ensure your success in the marketplace.

handling furloughed employees

Laying off employees is a business necessity right now.  You have an obligation as a business leader to ensure that your company survives the current crisis.  How you handle this will decide if those furloughed employees return when you want them.


Communicate thoroughly, regular updates on when you intend to have hours for them.  Right now advise them all to apply for unemployment, and make sure you respond appropriately so they receive it.  Every business needs to accept that there is going to be a minor rise to unemployment insurance, and do the right thing so employees can survive in the coming weeks.  The stimulus funds that are being signed in Congress now will take 6 to 16 weeks to reach people, tell your employees to not wait for it get unemployment as soon as possible.

build your pipeline

Now is the time to build your hiring pipeline.  Take the time as a management team and map out who is in reserve on furlough, and potential needs if you are fully operational.  Hiring needs are going to flip from desperately shedding payroll to needing people to serve customers overnight.


You are in the middle of laying off employees and it seems counter-intuitive, but now is the time to think about hiring.  The market for people is going to turn quickly, with pent up demand as people go back to work for a variety of services.  We are never going to get back all the sales we losing now, but there will be a sharp increase in the aftermath as funds loosen and manufacturers put out large incentives to reduce backlogged inventory.  Plan now, or you will get caught short of people and lose out on the market correction.  The best way is to continue interviewing, do phone interviews and tell the applicants you want to continue communicating and have them on a short list for as soon as you can hire.  Try to preemptively pull them from the employment market before your competitors do.

create a hiring plan

We have been hiring in a candidates' market for almost a decade with extremely low unemployment and business fighting for every last applicant.  The market is going to about face in the span of a couple months.  Many people laid off now will never return to their prior employer.  You need a new strategy to match the current climate.


Identifying the best candidates is going to be paramount, when you go from getting a few quality applicants to scores of candidates.  Having a tight designed process to assess and filter applicants is the first step.  Do you have a written phone interview, and applicant software that allows you easily evaluate candidates?  Is there a simple scoring system in place to quickly compare dozens of applicants and make the process fast and efficient?  The managers that you will be counting on to handle the business increase when you open also need time to be a part of the hiring process.  A fast efficient method of talking to and measuring candidates is the only way they will accomplish handling their daily functions and hiring.

Take the time now to add jobs into your applicant system, review how they are written, and where you will want to post them.  Mass message candidates in your current pipeline, try to reach and complete phone interviews now.  Have them scored and just a call away from hiring so you can react on a dime to needing people, and well before your competitors.  Engage an HR firm, like our company, to assist with phone interviews and onboarding if you are not going to have the capacity immediately.

If you need more help putting together a plan to handle these volatile times just reach out.  We love to help, email for a consultation.