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Don't Penalise Your People in a Downturn

Sometimes, all a business can do in the face of recession is accept that it will make less money, says John Timpson, chairman of the UK-wide Timpson chain of dry-cleaning, shoe repair and locksmiths outlets. But it doesn't pay to penalise your employees.

There may be parts of your business where it's possible to save on head-count -- parts that should perhaps have been addressed anyway. But if you cut bonuses or lay-off large numbers in order to make a quick saving, you'll probably struggle to survive in the long term, he says. Timpson should know -- his business is over a century old and has had its share of near-misses.

Now it operates in a radical way -- it's run by the people who work in the outlets, rather than at HQ. Like other unconventionally run businesses such as Brazil's Semco, Timpson works because it has buy-in at leadership level -- John Timpson explains how it can work in any business in the full interview here.

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