Every now and then, organizations layoff employees for one reason or the other, whether this workforce poses some threats to organization’s healthy existence or it is more than the requirement. Laying off employees is a serious matter and if handled with responsibility and proper planning, it can result in positive outcomes for the society and organization’s reputation.
Laying off employees is never pleasant
Layoff refers to employees losing their jobs as a result of structural changes in the organization. This happens when organization is going through some restructuring or it is facing some big losses and cannot afford to keep its current employees on their jobs or if the organization at some point realizes that its current workforce is greater than the required workforce, then it forces certain percentage of employees to leave. So, being laid off does not indicate employee’s bad performance. If the employee loses his job due to bad performance, that is referred as firing the employee. Hence, layoffs are perceived by the employees as unfair and unjust treatment by the organization because they might be performing well but still organization is laying them off. If this perception is strategically assumed by the higher management and human resource department before it actually happens, it is a win-win situation for both the organization and employees.
Winning strategy for laying off employees
Here are a few considerations when you prepare your winning strategy for possible laying off of employees:
1) Workforce planning
The issues of layoffs usually arise when there is no proper workforce planning. Workforce planning is an important function of human resource department which ensures that there are always sufficient, competent people in the organization, neither more, nor less. If human capital is more than the requirement, it is a threat for the organization as this creates more expenses being given out as salaries, bonuses and other in-house facilities to a group of people who are of no value for the organization. If the workforce is less than the requirement then, the organization lacks efficiency and its productivity greatly suffers in every aspect as existing few people are doing work of many, which results in employees’ demotivation.
So, a proactive approach can always save you before anything serious happens. Rush your HR department for a strategic workforce planning (WFP) report. Get it prepared and analysed in time as this is crucial to strategic human resource planning. This is the first document which will help you in both good and bad times. When you are promoting and hiring the people, it directs you and when you lay off employees, it makes sure you have the right people left with you.
If your WFP is strategically aligned with your goals, most probably you won’t have to go for heavy layoffs because you have the right people working for you who won’t let you fail.
2) Hiring the right ones
After getting the workforce plan prepared, a well planned and well conducted hiring process gets everything in place. If the hiring follows WFP and people are hired on the basis of the competencies required for each job, it is very likely that you don’t ever need to lay off your employees. Hiring is one of the most important decisions you need to be good at taking as it ensures right person at the right place which leads your organization in the right direction always. Yes, there are some unforeseen situations that can force you into downsizing and lay offs but even if you have hired the right people both in terms of number and skills, then it will be the strongest reason for your company’s strength and chances of facing laying off situations are just 15-20%.
Just like other strategies of the company, strategy of laying off employees should be developed as a proactive approach so that the lay offs could be avoided in all possible ways. Taking this rule into account, thoughtful hiring is the foremost step to ensure we don’t have unskilled or surplus human capital. The more are unskilled and surplus employees, the more workforce is laid off at the time of crisis thus, damaging the repute of the company.
3) Training & Development
Yes, there are circumstances when you have no control over the situations that the company is facing, but strategically speaking, you are on the top of hierarchy and a manager has to be a leader first. So, you must have the ability to foresee and predict the expected situations your organization can face. Data from your competitors, economy, stock exchange, sales, profits and other financial statements narrate your company’s standing. So, never assume that you can’t get enough time to predict any future serious jerk.
An important part of this strategic planning involves training your employees and developing their skills so that they are able to face any difficult situations. Remember always getting your WFP ready? So, now we can conclude you have the right number of people and they are all trained to face any quaky shaky situations. Don’t forget your focus should be to run your organization strategically so you have to manage your staff smartly.
4) Laying off employees with compassion
Organizations can definitely get into some unseen situations like any sudden economic downfall so despite having a good WFP and trained people, you could be forced to lay them off. At this point, your attitude means a lot. Layoffs are never pleasant and your employees will never take these positively. Explain to them the reasons behind this layoff and help the competent ones in getting hired by other organizations. An essential favor in this regard is to give good experience certificates and recommendation letters to the employees. The most important consideration companies miss when they layoff employees is the disbursement of their due salaries, gratuity, provident fund and other benefits. This is the number one factor which makes laid off employees more annoyed. So, making sure this does not happen can reserve your market reputation. Take necessary steps to layoff employees in the best way so that when tomorrow your organization gets stable, you are able to rehire your competent employees. Hence, the trick is to never leave your employees abandoned and value them to be valued in return.
5) Counselling & work sharing
So, the lay offs have happened and now you have a few left with the company to do the work. Probably, there is more work now as these few people have to get your company on the right track with limited resources. This can involve long work hours, more stress and more work load which eventually leads to job dissatisfaction. At this time, company’s higher management is responsible to be actively involved in motivating the staff which can boost their performance and morale.
Employees are the bricks of an organization and the goal of an organization should always be to increase the value of its assets. Even when you are forced to layoff employees, do this ethically and compassionately as it will affect your long-term reputation and survival.