Difficult Downsizing Decisions

As we are all well aware, many companies are in the process of reorganizing their talent pool. Of course, with the Coronavirus how to do this is top of mind.  No matter what causes downsizing, resizing, or “right-sizing” leaders must carefully evaluate their workers to determine who to keep, who to furlough, and who to downright terminate. 

How is this done?  How do you decide?  There are some key questions to ask yourself when making these determinations:  Who is already causing concerns or issues? Will seniority alone be a consideration?

These questions are important to consider.  On top of these, however, is the diagnosing each person’s competency for performing each of their work tasks.  One of the best ways to do this is using Blanchard’s SLII®.  This is a model for determining competency and confidence to perform a specific task.  When the analysis is done for each person’s responsibilities, you will have a great picture of their value to your organization. 

For example, you have an employee that has been around for about six months that is not great at cold calling yet, but really brings in the sales when they get a lead.  They are learning about cold calling and they are very enthusiastic.  Would you keep them?  I would.  They are exhibiting the behaviors of a good salesperson as demonstrated by their sales lead calls.  With more time and training they most likely will be able to transfer their skills and to do better at cold calling. 

In another scenario, you have someone that is not doing very well at sales calls and they do not show motivation or enthusiasm for the work.  You’ve coached them and provided training for the past several months.  Would you keep them?  No. If I’m downsizing and both the competence and motivation is lacking, I would not consider them as a viable long-term employee. 

When you evaluate each person’s task – not the person as a whole, you will have more data to help you make very difficult decisions about downsizing.  When you list each person’s responsibilities and rate them on both competence and confidence to achieve the task you will get a list of gaps in your workforce.  It will also help you to determine training, coaching, and other interventions.  Lastly, it will help you with succession planning.  We’ll talk about that in  my next article.  

I have provided very basic examples, and you may have many other considerations when reorganizing.  I’d love to hear what your processes are.  Please share!

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