Jaguar Land Rover redundancy alternatives boost staff engagement

Jaguar Land Rover’s HR chief has claimed that putting staff on shorter working weeks and introducing pay freezes in a bid to save jobs has helped boost staff engagement.

Since October 2008, the car manufacturer has been forced to put 9,000 production staff on a four-day working week, and in March this year the firm introduced a freeze on pay for all 16,000 employees, after demand for new cars slumped during the recession.

HR director Des Thurlby said half of the employees on four-day weeks had now returned to full-time hours, but their engagement levels with the company remained high.

Thurlby told Personnel Today: “Although people didn’t like the things we did and the consequences of the pay freeze, they appreciated the fact we gave them an alternative to redundancies and negotiated it with them.

“[The move] has helped with engagement. The employees felt the company was respectful and open to suggestions and prepared to try and maintain employment rather than just go for the easier option of redundancies.”

Thurlby is about to conduct a survey into staff satisfaction, and expects this to show continued engagement and motivation.

Jaguar has made 1,750 people redundant since December 2008, although Thurlby said this figure would have been higher if it wasn’t for implementing shorter working weeks and pay freezes.

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