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Seniors, Pls help. We have recently downsized the organisation. Want to know ways and means to keep the existing employees motivated! Thanks Shubhangi
From India, Pune

Hello friend,

You have asked a very sensitive and a very vital question - it is a challenge for HR to keep motivation of people who remain with the organization.

I would say that other leaders in the organization including the CEO should share this responsibility as the overall business performance hinges on the motivation of people.

First step should be to have open and transparent communication that the downsizing is over - and it should be honest communications. This will reassure those who are in the organization.

Conduct small group open forum session to discuss what the people feel about the downsizing - this forum will help you explain the reasons of downsizing.

There should be clear communications as to how people are required to handle additional role and responsibility and also if certain activities are totally eliminated.

There should be communication to inform what kind of human consideration was given to people who have been asked to leave - it may be worth expalaining that business is a RISK and under these risks it is difficult to run a business if we continued to have the employee expenses with such headcounts and why it was a business necessity.

I would like to repeat - please inform everyone [in groups if required] that whatever downsizing was planned is over and now all those who remain have the responsibility to take the company forward to achieve its business goals.

While writing this is easy - it certainly is a challenge for HR and top management.

Hope this helps.


From United States, Greensboro

Dear HR professionals,

Downsizing is never an easy decision for any business. When it comes to layoffs, how you treat people, both laid-off and remaining employees, will make huge different outcomes. If it's unavoidable, make sure that you do with 2 things: careful planning and dignity to do more with less.

Remaining employees need not only support but also motivation!

Be honest and open to them about the reasons of downsizing decision and the needs for all remaining stakeholders to move on and overcome the hard time. You need to talk with each of them individually and let them tell you their thoughts and concerns. One-to-one direct meetings can also let surviving employees know that they stay for a reason and how they are valued. Anything you can do to make them feel their stay is a win-win deal for you, as the employer, and for them, as valued contributors.

Also, gaining the trust after downsizing is a must because your employees have experienced a huge loss which caused by the company anyway. The downsized company will require its workforce to handle more tasks with more responsibilities. Thus, it's a good time for additional training provided by the company, which creates more opportunities for survivors' career development at the same time.

Re-engaging employees after a downsizing is not easy because they may face overwhelmed workload, work stress or even fear of the next downsizing decision. Allow them time and space to adapt to the new situation, but never leave them alone. Your thoughtful planning and deliberate actions will bring committed workforce back or not, it depends on your choice!

It's not a new topic, but still needed in recent economic downturns. For your reference: HR Management: If You Have to Downsize, Do It Right!

From Vietnam, Hanoi
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