Home Back Issues May 2011 Under the numbers

Under the numbers

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our Reader Input survey in each issue is always full of snappy charts and graphs that represent at a glance what our readership is thinking about a particular topic. But when we surveyed readers in late March about how the recession has affected their business or organization, we also asked a few open-ended questions and invited written comments to get a deeper idea of how businesses have coped with the downturn.

The remarks were a telling and sobering reminder that the recession technically may be over, but for 64% of the 718 readers who took the survey, it still feels to them like we are in a recession.

Underneath that percentage were dozens of comments that detailed what has been lost. For some the damage is deep. The list of things that were tossed overboard by the survey respondents seemed endless: raises, 401K matches, holiday parties, IT upgrades, advertising (ouch), health insurance, staff development, travel, bonuses, retreats, capital improvements, charitable giving, publications, paid lunches, janitorial services, golf, Blazer tickets. “My sanity,” added one reader. “Medical benefits package, no annual get-together, major executive wage cuts. There are more things but I am really just pissed off and can’t even list any more.”

While it wasn’t easy to give up these things, the most painful one was losing employees.

“The recession forced my business to give up things that had been important: The business strategy that you treat employees as assets.”

“We let some real good people go.”

“Basically, we cut everything that didn't directly produce a sale.”

We also asked readers to detail in what ways they have had to change how they do business:

“We are a family-owned 84-year-old business who valued our employees and their families. Our relationships with our vendors and customers were our lives. We lived the business. Going forward it will be more of just a business and not a lifestyle. Our state is no longer a great place for family-owned small businesses. I doubt this business will succeed to a fifth generation. It will be sold to a corporation and a lot of jobs will be moved out of the state.”

“It just is not fun anymore.”

There were a few optimistic comments, and one in particular stood out:

“We run a very lean organization with very little ‘fat’ to trim, yet we believe in taking care of our staff. We were unwilling to cut employee wages/benefits and this is the only area in which we really spend significantly in a discretionary fashion. So we gave up profitability to maintain our commitment to treating our staff well.”

I don’t know who wrote this, but if you’re reading this, keep the faith. It’s business leaders like you that help me keep mine.

robin-BLOG

 

Robin Doussard
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

More Articles

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
14BY KIM MOORE

Proud, diverse and underpaid.

Pride in their organizations’ mission, fairness in the treatment of women and ethnic minorities, flexible work schedules — these are just a handful of workplace characteristics that employees of this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits appreciate about their organizations.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

The Alchemist

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

David Howitt explains why Portland consumer brands like Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts are taking the world by storm.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS