After The RIF, Don’t Panic

29 Aug

swine-flu-panic-button

Excellent advice from India’s Express Computer Online if you going through a downsizing.

If your organization has undergone trauma in the form of layoffs as a result of economic conditions or other reasons (e.g. M&A-induced redundancies), what should HR practitioners and organizational managers and leaders do? The WorkTrends results suggest a number of important steps that can be taken to enhance future levels of engagement and mitigate the potential of regrettable turnover. 

  • Confidence is key—Perhaps one of the most important first steps in any post-layoff environment is to regain employees’ confidence in the organization and particularly the future role that they play. While this may seem obvious, a crisis situation may cloud that. Confidence can be instilled in a variety of ways, but organizational leaders should communicate the strategy going forward, translate the strategy into what it means for workgroups, listen to employee concerns, and make clear how the future will be bright for individual employees. Give them a ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’
  • Recognition and opportunity—In the midst of crisis, individuals still make their way the best they can. Life goes on, despite the turmoil. Managers need to consider this while the organization struggles; employees need to know that they are doing their job well and that there will be again opportunities from them at the organization, especially in times after crisis. In other words, give them a reason to hang in there.
  • Turn ‘me’ into ‘we’—In a post layoff environment, employees may turn inward and worry more about matters that are personally relevant or give them a sense of security. Naturally, in times of uncertainty, employees and managers will be more concerned with their own work and livelihood. This tendency towards protectionism can threaten to break down the social ties that bind an organization together. Reinforcing messages such as ‘We are all in this together,’ and reiterating that group is stronger than individuals will encourage employees to bond together and increase organizational loyalty.
  • Prepare for the rebound—Finally, while there are things that can and should be done now for your layoff survivors, it is also important to take a long-term perspective. The economy will eventually rebound, customers will return, and hopefully your company will return to its upward path to prosperity. How your layoff survivors are treated will become part of the organization’s history. If it is done well, that can help attract and retain new employees. If it is done poorly, it will have the opposite effect.

I recently assisted an organization that had to go through a downsizing. The leaders acted in a professional and dignfied manner. The reduction certainly had an impact– they always do– but that impact can be managed by effective leadership.

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