Managing After Downsizing

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In the wake of layoffs, companies are discovering that maintaining their efficiency is challenging. While managers "ride out the rapids" they must also remain proactive and make tough decisions regarding prioritizing projects. To keep departments productive, managers are seeking out new ways to further cut costs and "do more with less." Here are ways you can make post-downsizing decisions that will help you stay competitive and grow toward areas of opportunity.

Managing Morale
Although your bottom line is tangible, there are other intangibles at work that can impact productivity. The first thing to do after letting people go is to manage the morale of team members. Assure remaining employees that business will run as usual and allow them to ask questions about their shifting roles. Communicate a clear vision for the future that includes everyone. In stressful times, people tend to isolate themselves as a defense mechanism, and it's your job as manager to promote a "we're in this together" attitude.

Tapping Temporary Talent
After downsizing, mission critical projects take on more importance and extraneous tasks are shelved or eliminated. Companies use temporary staffing for targeted and cost-effective injections of productivity. Businesses who are challenged to "do more with less" find that contingent, temporary help can begin producing almost instantly. Michelle Koch, Assistant Manager at AppleOne's Torrance branch, cites the example of a food industry company that had a need for someone advanced enough to support two assistant controllers, but due to budget cuts could only afford the cost of an accounting clerk."Thanks to the wonders of temping, we were able to get them someone strong enough to be an assistant controller himself, but for the price of an accounting clerk!" says Michelle.

Reduce Cost of Vacancy
After a company has eliminated redundant inefficiencies, the productive positions they choose to keep become even more critical. If you have a vacancy in a productive position, you must move quickly to fill it as soon as possible. Cost-conscious managers may view a vacancy as a short-term reduction in expenses, but the reality is the long term impact of lost productivity ultimately becomes a revenue drain. If you find yourself with a vacant, highly productive position, we can help you develop recruiting strategies to reduce your cost of vacancy. For more information, visit our Web site at

The Post-Downsizing Workplace
Managers may get a false sense that once they have delivered bad news to departing employees, the lion's share of their communicating is done. In fact, surviving employees are feeling insecure and are most likely under greater stress from an increased workload. They require more communication about their status and the company's. Smart managers take advantage of this time to challenge remaining workers with assignments designed to expand their skills and give them a chance to shine.

Prioritize tasks and wherever possible, team people up on projects. This promotes a sense of teamwork that may have been negatively affected by downsizing. Convey that now is a time for change and opportunity. The best way to make employees feel secure and valued is to focus on the future and their role in it.

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