Design News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Talent Talk: What Businesses Need to Do Now as Talk Turns to ‘Re-opening the Country’

Do all that you can to retain your current employees. The cost of hiring and training when the economy rebounds is significant, certainly far greater than the cost of keeping your employees on the payroll for a couple of months.

We’re at war, guys, a war we’re winning. Guess what — there’s another war that we also need to win, and it’s already started. This one might be even harder, and we need everyone to be on the same side.

The country has been talking the talk about beating COVID-19, and we’ve been walking the walk; now it’s time we think about walking and chewing gum at the same time. As we flatten the curve and glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel, the country is starting to have a serious conversation about getting back to work. About 35 people have filed for unemployment over the past three weeks for every person who has contracted the coronavirus.

No one knows yet exactly what "re-opening the country" will look like, or if it will happen in phases, or by geography. A lot of the country never shut down — it ramped up. A lot of ideas are being floated, and I’m confident we will figure it out as a country, but there is something businesses can start to focus on right now.

Do what you can to keep your current employees. Everybody. There are economic realities, but if you are able, hang on to as many of your good people as possible. The costs to the company of hiring and training are significant, certainly far greater than the cost of keeping them for a couple of months.

Programs are in place for small businesses, and they’re going to take a few more weeks to fully implement, but please take advantage of them. These programs can help many companies with up to 500 employees, which covers a lot of companies in our industry. There is every reason to believe that we may be well on our way to recovery in a couple of months. And it could be a fast, strong recovery.

The federal and state governments can only do a fraction of the heavy lifting, though. I’m seeing large businesses with hundreds of millions of dollars “in the bank” who are laying off or furloughing far more people than they need to for a two- or three-month downturn. There is a multiplier effect on productivity at a national level if this gets out of hand. Please look past the next reporting quarter and do what people do in a war — the right thing for the country.

Image: Sergey Nivens/Adobe Stock

About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Paul at

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.