Dear Workforce How Do We Inspire Employees Despite A Downsizing

What are some cost-effective ways to quickly re-energize employees following a company downsizing?

September 7, 2011

Dear Stemming:

After a downsizing, employees may feel a sense of loss, betrayal, and fear for their own survival. Many employers try to manage these emotions by justifying management decisions and downplaying the challenges ahead. This kind of response fuels doubt, speculation, and cynicism rather than commitment and drive to move ahead.

Having a frank conversation about what happened--and what needs to happen--will allow you to address the more immediate issue of each employee's personal choice regarding his or her own energy for what lies ahead. To do this effectively, hold a large group meeting with all employees, or several large meetings if it's not possible to get everyone in one room. In the meeting, openly discuss the downsizing and the business decisions that led up to it. Own up to any management mistakes that may have contributed to the need for layoffs, and be straight with employees when you respond to questions or criticism.

Outline the company's strategy for turning the business around and give details of the business outcomes that must be achieved. Ask for associates' help in achieving the objectives. Present strategic goals in terms that make it easy for associates to relate the goals to their work--like number of units, dollars spent, time to respond, or time to complete a task. Afterwards, give associates support so that they can generate ideas and implement them to achieve the goals. Continue with periodic meetings that allow associates to showcase their achievements that support the business goals, and keep associates regularly apprised of how the business is doing.

SOURCE: Kevin Herring, president, Ascent Management Consulting, Tucson, Arizona, Jan. 24, 2003.

LEARN MORE: Link to about 75 other items aboutdownsizing. Also, thischart can help you calculate the costs and benefits of downsizing.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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