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Medium 9781599960616

Do we do it all at onceor in phases?

Terri A. Deems HRD Press PDF

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Question

3/20/2007

7:36 AM

Page 73

8

Do we do it all at once or in phases?

That’s a tough question, because there are advantages and disadvantages to either strategy.

What is essential is to remember care and control. Do all you can to show the people—both those exiting and those remaining—that you care about them. And do all you can to stay in control of the process.

If you have more than one location, then a phased downsizing might be a viable option. Or if you have a large downsizing, informing people by departments might be an option. Example:

You inform IT today, R & D tomorrow, and so on. Here are advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of a Phased Downsizing

In a phased downsizing, you implement the downsizing by location, or department, or level, or whatever makes sense to you. Here are several advantages:

1. With a phased downsizing, fewer employees are involved at one time. You typically notify one department or location at a time, which means there are fewer people immediately impacted. In most situations, there is less

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What about the media?

Terri A. Deems HRD Press PDF

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Question

3/20/2007

7:36 AM

Page 83

9

What about the media?

Will you have to deal with the media? Probably.

Is it important how you deal with the media?

You better believe it!

Here’s an example of why it’s important how you deal with the media. Two organizations in the same city downsized within three weeks of each other. The first organization, with several thousand employees, downsized by only ten managers—not a big number. But it made the newspaper’s front page below the fold the morning after the downsizing took place. And two days later, there was another major article on the front page of the business section.

The articles reported all the details of the downsizing and described the organization’s problems, how the people were told (in a group meeting), and that no assistance was provided to the terminated employees. The articles also reported how difficult it was to get information from the organization’s leaders. Those leaders mistakenly did not make themselves available until after the first article appeared.

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What if we need some ofthese people in nine months?

Terri A. Deems HRD Press PDF

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Question

3/20/2007

7:36 AM

Page 107

11

What if we need some of these people in nine months?

The crunch for good people will increase in the coming years. Why? There simply aren’t enough good people to go around. If you read the earlier section on Future Recruiting Status

(see Question 1), then you understand why you need to be careful about how you do a downsizing. After all, you may well need some of those people down the road.

If you didn’t read Future Recruiting Status in the Question 1 discussion, then turn to it now and read it. Then return to Question 11.

Downsizings are temporary actions. They are conducted to reduce costs so that your organization can continue to be healthy. If you lead well, then you may need some of these people you’re letting go at some point in the future—maybe in six months, nine months, or two years. But unless you really messed it up, your drive to make the organization successful will put you back in the growth mode. Then you’ll be competing for an increasingly shrinking pool of real talent.

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Now what?

Terri A. Deems HRD Press PDF

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Question

3/20/2007

7:36 AM

Page 113

12

Now what?

You have read this downsizing book, you’ve considered all the issues, and you’ve developed your plan. You’ve reviewed it, slept on it, noodled it in the middle of the night, and even spent those extra dollars to have someone go over your plan with you to identify any weak spots. And you made the corrections.

Now what?

Do it!

If you’re convinced your plan is thorough, then the next action is to schedule the downsizing.

The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for you to carry out those plans with the energy you will need. Look at the calendar and identify the day when you can do your downsizing. And then plan on getting extra sleep, more exercise, good nutrition, and less alcohol and caffeine between now and then.

You’ll need all the energy you can get to implement a downsizing that doesn’t leave the exiting employees devastated, the remaining employees angry, the decision makers stressed, and the company open to litigation or lost business.

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How do we select who goes?

Terri A. Deems HRD Press PDF

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Question

3/20/2007

7:36 AM

Page 19

4

How do we select who goes?

Selecting which jobs to eliminate is a fairly straightforward decision. You take a look at your business needs and then identify the number and kinds of jobs it will take to turn the plan into actuality. But selecting which jobs stay or go is different than selecting what people stay or go. What do you do if you need only 5 night supervisors and you have 8? Or you need only 15 IT people and you have 21?

How you select who goes and who stays is a significant effort. Here are five guidelines:

1. Deal with performance issues early.

If you’re considering downsizing to resolve performance issues, forget it. A downsizing is not the time to deal with people whose performance is below minimum standards.

The time to deal with those folks was before, as part of a continuous performance improvement strategy.

A downsizing is completed to make a correction in the number of human resources that a company has in order to reach organizational goals. It’s not a way to “safely” eliminate marginal employees.

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