It is a fact that whenever a company is not making enough (no, let's not go to the "losing money" stage) the first to take the hit is its employee.
For local SMEs, the common practice is to start delaying the workers' pay. Like how those cleaning companies had bidded a few bids too low for the project and had to resort to paying their cleaners once every few months, or preferrably a year. As for MNCs, their best practice would be retrenchment, or in a more pleasing terminology, restructuring.
When retrenchment is not adequate to keep the company in a still-making-good-money-in-bad-times state, a company could actually turn to making the most unreasonable changes. And apparently when times are bad, even the best could turn to worst.
In one particular MNC which won the 2008 HRM awards of Number One Employer of Choice in Singapore, its CEO went up a hill in the Silicon Valley recently and came back to its people with a set of Ten Commandments...
1) If thou art a full time staff, thou shalt take a 5 percent pay cut, 10 percent if thou art a manager
2) If thou art a contractor, thou shalt not have your contract extended
3) If someone in the department left, it shalt not hire a replacement, but to divide the tasks, not necessary equally, among those left behind
4) Thou shalt take more leaves, no-pay ones of course
5) Thou shalt not travel. If thou have to attending a meeting across the globe, use the phone. Even if it means staying awake at 2am
6) Thou shalt not have a toll-free number. All conference calls will now be conducted on paid numbers, and of course thou art paying if thou work from home
7) Thou shalt work from home more often because instead of a personal desk, thou will be sharing a hot desk if thou comes to the office
8) Thou shalt pay for parking now, at the rate of $3 to $4 per hour, even though the office is nowhere near CBD area or anywhere where land is expensive
9) The department shalt stop all form of monetary awards but instead just sing hollow praises to the employees who worked off their asses for thou
10) The department shalt not have any fund for team building activities
This may looks cruel, but hey, at least these people are still holding a job, which would be considered the best blessing they could get! What more can they ask for when at this present moment, only the politicians, statboard people, teachers, policemen and soldiers are the only ones still holding a more-than-decent job with can't-be-better pay and benefits! It is just pure coinicidence that their pay comes from taxpayers like us. Really.