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Managing Layoffs & Downsizing

Layoffs can be stressful at times!! Prior to layoffs, you want to maintain the lines of open communication regarding the state of the organization. The thought of keeping bad news from employees never works. They often hear through the grapevine or perhaps the print media that the organization is struggling. Always remember, if you do not tell employees what is happening, they will make it up. The manager must deliver the bad news to the individual being laid off. As difficult as it is, never delegate the delivery of the layoff news. Deliver the news personally and in-camera. Employees who survive the layoffs will begin to have doubts about their futures with the organization. The CEO should be visible and available to managers similarly as well to the employees. Before layoffs, they should provide coaching to the managers to help them in delivering the emotional news. The CEO encompasses a powerful impact when they are willing to personally deliver a press release to the managers and employees regarding the requirement of these drastic actions and what he or she believes is the impact on the company’s future. At the very least, the CEO should present managers with a written, prepared statement that they will share with all employees. Saying that layoffs are not easy is a real understatement. However, if done right, the organization can minimize the damages, ensuring that laid-off employees do not become ambassadors of ill will within the marketplace. For the employees who survive the layoff they should stay focused on their goals and move forward to try to do their best.

When downsizing a business, you want to be proactive – examine the long-term problems and goals. It’s not going to be easy, but with these 5 tips, you will be able to minimize the disruption and negative effects that downsizing can wear on your business. Be transparent When people are laid off and restrain plans are in motion, you and your managers must be as transparent as possible. Start by holding a group meeting with the team to let your employees know why you are downsizing. Remaining transparent will help reduce rumors that may create worry and distraction. Employees are more likely to remain occupied and constructive during the transition when they are not trying to guess what will happen next. Ease fears and establish new aims and new duties Set goals between meetings to ensure that employees have something to concentrate on. Once employees know why you are choosing to downsize, you would like to speak how their jobs might change. Identify each team member’s new goal and responsibilities. Remember to constantly restate why their roles are critical to the company’s overall goals and objectives. When your employees have a transparent picture of how they fit into the longer term for your company, they will be less worried about losing their jobs and more engaged in their day-to-day duties.

Focus on the important stuff Allow team members to grasp what the benchmarks are and whether they are meeting expectations. This can ensure team members are aligned and focused on the foremost important activities. Continuously discuss how difficult short-term workloads will help the long-term outlook for the organization. Give back and make sacrifices for your employees Often, you will soothe these emotions by giving back or making a small offering for your employees. You simply should get creative, like allowing employees to alternate their working hours so everyone can take long lunches or arrive an hour later if required. Another idea is to surprise employees with a team breakfast or lunch. Or, if it’s around the holidays, you will make a bigger sacrifice and provide your holiday bonus to your employees. Be empathetic Ask the staff how they feel about the downsizing and allow them to vent their feelings. Even without the business downsizing, keep employees’ feelings in mind and provide them with any necessary support that they might require.

In an ideal world, layoffs or downsizing should be always avoided, but at times it can be difficult to avoid due to the business suffering losses, recession, pandemic or any other decision that is making the company take such a drastic step. Businesses need to be prepared and know how to manage such a delicate situation more effectively.

Finally, one should not forget the power of being kind-hearted to someone who is at the receiving end of a layoff and make them understand that it has nothing to do with their performance. If re-hiring the laid-off staff is a possibility in the future when the company situation is getting healthier, then the organization should prioritize them first before thinking of hiring new employees.


Written by: Girish Rohra Chawla

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