If you are in the position where you need to downsize your staff,
consider these ideas:
Be careful if you're downsizing people in stages. It extends employee
trepidation and decreases productivity as each employee is wondering,
"Am I next?"
to let go wisely. There's no rule that says last one in is the
first one out. Identify your top performers and hold onto them.
Let go your
poor performers, attitude problems, policy violators and trouble
makers. Recreate your organization from a position of strength.
best methods for communicating the reduction.
to inform people in groups or individually.
your termination meetings in advance.
After the terminations,
call your remaining employees together and let them know what
occurred and what to expect next. Start a conscious effort of
building up the morale of the remaining employees.
If you're creating
a termination letter, make it simple and understandable. State
the termination reason and include last day worked, pay continuation,
and benefits handling.
I always recommend
having two people presenting a termination. There is safety in
numbers and a witness to the discussion.
Can you offer
outplacement services? One of my clients offered my resume writing
and job search coaching to their laid off employees.
to collect all company material, tools, computers, phones, keys.
to let the employees pack their own belongings or are you going
to do that for them. One of my clients allowed an employee to
return to his office and he deleted the financials of the organization
from the computer system.
you're going to handle the employees' exit. Most individuals will
handle this well. But problem employees should be escorted out.
much more to consider.
Let me know
if I can help you with termination planning, creating termination
letters, writing unemployment responses, etc.
call Arlene today
A few issues ago, I shared
the tale of the Radio Shack CEO who had falsified his resume
and ultimately left the Radio Shack organization. Well, the
news for the declining retail organization has not gotten much
It appears they hired a new CEO
from K-mart who decided that the best way to lay-off 400 employees
was by sending them an email!
Although employees were aware that
lay-offs were coming, imagine getting your "pink-slip"
via email? To add insult to injury, the employees were given
plastic bags to pack their belongings, then asked to leave.
I wonder if they were labeled: "I just got bagged by Radio
I guess technology has its advantages.
Now we can actually avoid telling our employees the truth about
one of the most difficult things people face -- losing their
In one report, I heard that Arthur
Anderson previously sent voice mails to employees it was laying
off or employees could check the status of their jobs on-line.
At least the voice mail had a voice! But even so, it sure takes
the pain out of the process for the employer if we don't even
have to tell our employees face-to-face that they're out of
Actually, this is sounding like a
great new strategy! Let's say you have an employee who isn't
really doing his job well. Just send him an email and put him
on performance warning. Or, let's say you feel like someone
doesn't deserve a raise. Send her a voice mail and tell her
that her performance is substandard. So, no quality work, no
salary increase. Why meet in person, when you can hide behind
technology to do your "dirty" work?
Copyright (c) 2006 Arlene
Vernon, HRx, Inc.
Looking in the Mirror
Okay, I'll admit to being a little
sarcastic. Times sure have changed when employers think that
all these tough decisions really don't affect live people who
have committed their time to work for an organization.
So, what does this mean to us? I'm
sure that none of you are communicating this ineffectively.
But we certainly could be relying on email and voice-mail communication
a little too much for delivering information that we're uncomfortable
communicating in person.
What about when you have to make
tough decisions regarding downsizing your staff, realigning
duties, cutting wages, decreasing benefits or increasing employee
benefits rates? These are not uncommon events in 2006. Have
you reflected back on how effectively you're sharing these deflating
messages? With benefits costs skyrocketing once again, even
if you're giving your employees wage increases, they could be
losing income. They've done the math.
It's important to consider not only
how decisions are made but how they are communicated to your
human resources -- and what the impact of that communication
is on their personal lives, work morale, productivity and employee
retention. We spend so much time making the tough decisions;
do we spend sufficient time communicating them effectively to
all affected parties?
Look back at the past six months
in your organization. What important messages did you send to
your employees, how was the information sent and how was the
news received? Did your communication get the results you expected?
If not, was it the message or the delivery?
Ask around and get others' opinions
on the matter. Then take these results into consideration with
your next "big" communication. If your method of communication
was blasted across the media, as was Radio Shack's, how would
you feel? They said that they informed their employees "as
respectfully as we could." Well, we all know that's ridiculous,
but somehow they missed the obvious. Could you?
Before I forget, here's a key mistake
made by Minneapolis- based Northwest Airlines. NWA hired a consulting
firm to create a book of money-saving tips to help their laid
off employees. Somehow, no one read the entire 101 tips and
the list was very insulting. Included in the list were these
clothes and toys for your kids from friends and relatives.
Ask your doctor
for samples of prescriptions.
Don't be shy
about pulling something you like out of the trash.
Very respectful tip,
that last one.
Copyright (c) 2006 Arlene Vernon,
Vernon, PHR, partners with small businesses as their Human Resource
Xpert to create their HR systems and solve their HR problems.
If you have gaps in your HR operation, have an employee problem
to solve, or want to enhance your managers' skills, call Arlene
today. Learn how HRx can save you time and help you avoid costly
HR mistakes. HRx, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952-996-0975,
Inc. respects your privacy and does not give out or sell subscriber
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