Downsizing your business is hard on employers and employees

How to handle downsizing your business

Downsizing creates uncertainty for both employees and businesses and requires extra sensitive handling.

The world is doing it tough at the moment, and many are shouldering an enormous strain, otherwise unseen in their working history. If you’re feeling the pinch, you might even be considering downsizing your business.

The strategy of downsizing

In Newcastle, we’ve seen many businesses shut their doors amid the economic strain resulting from COVID-19. Many have done so as part of a short-term strategy, with their eyes firmly set on reopening in the long term.

This strategy creates uncertainty for both employees and businesses and requires extra sensitive handling. If done correctly, you can look help look after your hard-working employees (priming them for rehire once you are able) and protect your employer brand in the community.

Downsizing your business is the only option for some businesses in tough economic climates

Considerations when downsizing your business

  1. Keep communication channels open

Small details matter to employees when you take on the hard task of downsizing your business. Communicate frequently and be as transparent as you can. Details around timeframes, the ‘why’ and handover are important.

Employees also want to feel that their contribution matters. When you’re under financial strain—especially currently where many feel they have to make decisions within hours of announcements—it’s easy to quantify an employee’s contribution. Practice kindness, take the time to hear their feedback and say ‘thank you’ often. It matters.

  1. Use your network

In this crisis, remember you are losing an employee because of unforeseen circumstances. Outside of this situation, you’d have them on your books as they were happy, hard-working and engaged employees.

Do your best to ensure their transition is smooth, so that when the market balances, you can rebuild with people who know your brand inside and out. Leverage your network to see if you can locate them for another position or short-term placement until you are in a position to rehire.

A small team considers downsizing your business

  1. Invest in outplacement services

Make this transition as easy as possible for your employees and consider investing in your ex-employees with outplacement or HR consulting services. These services are created specifically for individuals newly entering the job market after a tenure in a company.

There are numerous benefits to providing outplacement services, the most important being that you can maintain healthy relationships with your ex-employee and it will aid in reducing unemployment. A figure that will be undoubtedly important in the coming months.


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