One of the most common dollar-saving strategies being employed by companies in 2009 is work-force reduction. A recent study by the Human Capital Institute and Taleo Research offered these suggestions for executives charged with undertaking and managing company layoffs:
DO identify the work that is core to retaining a profitable business. Evaluate the importance of the job role to the organization rather than just the individual employee in it. Sometimes it’s better to totally eliminate a less critical business unit than to cut some set percentage across the board.
DO identify the competencies needed to execute business goals. Retain and engage top performers with core functions. Eliminate only non-core workers.
DO protect your bottom line and brand. Ask the question, “What do you want to be known for as a result of your layoffs?” The message you send affects your brand and may stick with your organization for a very long time.
DO communicate with employees constantly. Get information to employees quickly, and ensure that accurate, precise details are available. Don’t let the rumor mill do your talking for you.
DO pay attention to the survivors. Those left after a layoff often feel guilty for having survived the cuts. Rebuild their confidence by helping them know they are essential to the company’s future.
DON’T cut with a hatchet. Use a scalpel, say the experts, or you may lack the right talent to get through the recession and be left understaffed for the recovery.
DON’T implement “Death by a Thousand Cuts.” Plan for the layoffs, and make them all at once.
DON’T plan a layoff for a Friday or immediately preceding a holiday.
DON’T shoot from the hip. Have your justifications ready, and have the legal ramifications (think discrimination) covered.
DON’T keep employees guessing. If you must downsize, create a corporate policy.
Taleo and HCI’s research found five opportunities that have emerged in the downturn: First, take advantage of talent that becomes available on the market; use the downturn for training, development and implementation of technology to become more productive; listen to employees; emulate the best companies; and leverage your leaders.