4 Tips to downsize your business the right way

In this age of austerity, many companies face the choice between downsizing their operation or folding altogether.

Downsizing can prove extremely beneficial if it is done sparingly, but even the smallest amount of downsizing can be difficult.  After all, fewer staff will put pressure on almost every level of the company.  Moreover, it can be difficult to keep motivation high amongst the remaining employees after the downsizing exercise has been completed.

So, if you are considering downsizing your business, how do you ensure that you remain in control after you have instigated those unfortunate, but necessary layoffs?

Here are 4 key tips to ensure you remain in control of the downsizing process:


Downsize your business: 1. Give recognition to the employees who were spared

Even when the layoffs are completed, those employees that remain will still be pensive about what the future has in store.  They may also feel that they are not important to the company, and as a manager you will need to reassure the survivors that they are integral to the business getting back to where it needs to be.  It can take time for the remaining employees to adjust to the new culture, so you should recognise their contribution to the company during this period of transition.


Downsize your business: 2. Address the question of increased workload

One of the biggest side-effects of downsizing is the inevitable additional workload that all remaining employees will have to take on.  This is where you will have to work closer as a team than ever before in order to find new ways of working and better solutions to tackle the increased workload.  Ensure that employees feel that their opinion really counts and that everybody really needs to pull together to turn things around.

By pooling everybody’s input, you should ensure that task effectiveness is increased and those that remained with the business should feel they are valued.


Downsize your business: 3. Understand what your employees are thinking

So many managers try to guess what their employees are feeling after a layoff.  To really get under the skin and understand what the workers are thinking, managers really need to get the facts.  By performing systematic and periodic attitude assessments of all employees, managers will be able to get a clear idea if there are any lingering doubts running through the workers’ minds.  Again, these tests will be another indication that you are taking the employees future with the business seriously.


Downsize your business: 4. Revise the Objectives of the company

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that you reassess the overall objectives of the company and exactly how you expect to achieve those objectives.

By losing staff from the organisation the company’s mission and plans for the future will obviously change.  And it is vital that you communicate these changes, and the reason for the changes to your employees.  Take time to discuss with them the consequences of the changes and hopefully address any doubts they may have for the future of the business.  This should help employees understand what lies ahead which in turn will help them perform their duties better.


Downsize your business: Summary

When you downsize any business, the biggest task is often building the trust amongst the employees left with the company.  By taking on board the tips above, you can start rebuilding employee’s trust, which might take a little time and effort, but the rewards should be well worth it.

Thanks for reading & should you require any further help recruiting for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here, or you can join the LinkedIn Response Knowledge Network here.

Otherwise feel free to get in touch with me personally, via Twitter or LinkedIn using the links below.

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Pablo Corre
Pablo Corre
9 years ago

Thanks Nathan
I would also say that restructuring / downsizing like any change will require excellent change management and leadership skills.
Visible leadership
Regular and consistent communication
Help people through the change curve

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