March 3, 2009

Downsizing as a Staff Management Technique

Downsizing is a method used by the personnel managers to reduce the labor force to a manageable number and thus cutting the overall costs of the organization.

It is not something that should be done hastily because the manager proposing it did it successfully in a different firm.

Becoming unmindful of the fact that such a strategy will be involving people squarely risking to be put on the exit line is unwise.

Human resources who should be valued company assets would not sit back and do nothing if their stay at the organization is being violated without a proper cause.

The personnel officer suggesting the downsizing strategy must start by presenting it to the managing director and other senior managers to get a go ahead if he sounds convincing and fair.

Resistance to change however, may surprisingly start at this meeting if some of those in big positions feel they would be shown the door as well, if the strategy implementation pushed through.

If the threat is felt from the above, you can be assure that this personnel manager would now be treated like a threat to the organization normal operations.

Sooner than later, these managers will influence even the small ranked worker to refuse to give in to the proposed downsizing strategy following strikes planned via involvement in grapevines.

And since one of the steps of deciding which worker should be declared redundant is carrying out thorough job analysis and specifications, no one would be willing to cooperate if they feel downsizing proposal is unethical.

More organizational politics on this kind of personnel officer are likely to bring his career in to an abrupt end while he thought it would have been fair for other employees to be victims.

Employees’ grievances are heard in industrial courts where their rights are protected from being violated unjustly and such efforts to retrench them may be ended immediately.

A downsizing strategy works best where the company in question is in financial trouble, because personnel managers can sell their cost cutting ideas to then desperate directors.

Also ahead of implementing such a strategy, it would be very important to consider your understanding of the organizational culture, structure, and weaknesses.

One must be capable of demonstrating how lay off of some workers can bring substantial savings on wages without risking productivity, quality and profitability.

As mentioned earlier, keeping the welfare of your staff in mind when drafting the new structure after downsizing is very imperative because a lot in their lives is to be impacted negatively by such a sudden move.

And how do you do this? Allowing them to speak up their minds after listening to your proposal without interrupting them is the way forward.

Becoming authoritative would only make things worse and before you realize it, you have gained a good share of enemies across the organization.

Use of proper communication channel that is suitable for each individual worker is the right way of conveying the new changes.

While this is happening, a lot of disagreements will arise from those whose retrenchment efforts are likely to hit badly, and it is then up to the proposing agent to make clarifications.

Workers would obviously reject downsizing strategy because they would fear loosing their only source of livelihood, but at times organizational managers lack other ways of mitigating the costs!

Source: Article Base by Esteri Maina

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