Our recent blog looked at five “no-nos” when making staffing cuts; common poor traits which reappear whenever a cuts process is in place. But there are constructive things that leaders can do to ensure control, make difficult situations more positive and inspire confidence.
1. Communicate regularly even when there is little to say. People’s anxieties will fill in gaps and potentially start a rumour mill that’s tricky to harness. Make sure that messages are honest and authentic. Engage both with people’s emotions and their genuine concerns. When you consult, listen to people’s views, re-look at proposals and always give feedback.
2. Assess your existing roles, structures, people. Identify strengths and tweak your proposals to make the most of what you have and the potential that they offer. Where there is a need for selection ensure that this is fair and proportionate.
3. Make sure that any changes are aligned with the business processes, are justified and have associated news ways of working. Sounds obvious but where cutting staff it is essential to be clear on core deliverables and the personnel to deliver. There is no room for the “what are they for” roles.
4. Be prepared to have some difficult conversations. Do not leave people with uncertainty. And where people leave, make sure it’s with dignity and kindness. Not only do ex-employees remain your organisation’s advocates but reflect how the organisation truly values staff.
5. Invest in those who remain. This may be training or time. Make sure people understand the objectives of the revised arrangements and their part in it, through effective work planning and performance management.
All in all, approach with positivity and energy. Be optimistic that what may follow will be the best for all if not in the short-term then in the medium term. Turn survivors into thrivers.
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