In today's economy, smaller work forces are the reality, though reducing staff is typically the last resort, says Sheryl Kovach, president and CEO of Kandor Group, a human resources consulting firm in Houston. Cutting costs in other areas, such as overtime pay, salary, benefits plans, and other types of capital or equipment expenses, is usually the first course of action.

But sometimes a reduced work force can't be avoided, especially in a poor economy.

Preparing for a work force reduction

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