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HR Strategies: Consider Efficiencies and Leave the Layoffs and Downsizing

Posted on August 26, 2008 by Ellen

Don't Jump the Gun

In this negative economy, I get a lot of HR emails about layoffs and downsizing.  It is surprising how quickly companies turn to downsizing to solve their problems that relate to their bottom line.  This is the time to find efficiencies and areas of opportunity; not run for the hills and give up.  Understandably, there are times when layoffs are necessary and downsizing is a last resort, but it should not be the first thing that pops into my inbox as economic stresses increase.  Not only do they make us HR folk grow gray hair and get heartburn, they are expensive, reduce performance and diminish one of the company’s most central investments. 

I’m Going To Need You To Get Outside The Box 

In combination with other strategies throughout the company, try some efficiency tactics through the HR department.  First, reevaluate job descriptions and roles in all areas of the company.  People do their best when they are doing something they love; happiness at work is the ultimate productivity booster.  Changing a couple of employees around or even simply adjusting their scope of responsibilities to involve areas of interest can impact employee enthusiasm and create a more efficient and excited workforce.  This philosophy will not only raise the level of efficiency per employee, but will also give a much needed “fresh” look at the overall picture.  Maybe that employee in customer service has some great ideas about supply chain, but has never been given the forum to express these new and exciting thoughts.  At a time when competition is fierce and the opportunity to get ahead narrows, this tactic could produce the “out of the box” thinking a company really needs to get back on their feet and diminish the impact of the depressing economy. 


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