How to Manage Business Downsizing - Looking After your Employees

Mental Health

A young worker leaving an office after a redundancy due to the business downsizing.

While some organisations are scrambling to find workers, it’s not the case for all businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused prosperity for some businesses but job losses and closures for others. There are businesses around the country who are making difficult decisions to reduce their workforce or close their doors with hospitality, tourism and retail being some of the hardest hit industries.

If you’re a manager or owner of one of these, you no doubt want to do everything you can to reduce the impact on your loyal employees. Here are some steps you can take to help your employees during a period of downsizing.


Be Upfront with Staff

Some managers will try to shield staff from bad news. They worry that the truth will cause their staff unnecessary angst, and the organisation may suffer lost productivity or key personnel will leave for more secure employment. These are likely outcomes whether you’re upfront with staff or not. Staff know when the business isn’t going well but when they aren’t hearing it from management, they can think it’s worse than it is.

If you’re able to keep staff informed of the situation, it’s worth doing. Staff will respect your honesty. If you have a plan for how the organisation may pull through the difficult times, tell staff and ask for their help. When staff know that management has targets and goals, staff can feel more positive about the situation.

If future redundancies are possible, honesty can be the best outcome. It can give people time to prepare themselves to say goodbye or see colleagues leave. Try to give your staff as much notice as possible, alongside support services to help them ease into a new job. Sometimes the shock of redundancy is the hardest part to deal with.

Outplacement Services

For employees who need to look for a new job, it can be a daunting time. Even when unemployment numbers are at record lows and job vacancies are high, it’s still difficult for many job hunters. An employee who has been with the same organisation for years means they probably haven’t updated their resume, applied for a job or attended an interview in that time. They may not know where to start.

Outplacement services can help your employees find new work by developing their job seeking skills such as resume writing, computer skills and interview skills. Some employees may have concerns about their age, experience, lack of skill, even their appearance. They may worry that these will go against them finding a new job or one they’ll enjoy. The valuable resources and motivation of a career counsellor can allay some of these fears and keep their job search on track.

Providing outgoing employees with access to outplacement services shows your organisation cares about all staff. This means employees are more likely to remain ambassadors of your company so no one is leaving on bad terms.


Use your Contacts

The pandemic has affected all businesses differently. In some industries businesses are experiencing record sales while others are letting staff go. If you know of businesses looking for similar skill sets, make contact and let staff know of job opportunities. They may not take the job but at least you’ve made them aware of options.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

For some people the thought of major change in their life induces anxiety and stress. Some employees have been worrying about the prospects of their job since the start of the pandemic. Ongoing levels of stress takes a toll on mental health. Anxiety and depression are common. But for some, the stress can take more of a physical toll on their health. Managers can remind staff to access the organisation’s EAP services should they or their family members feel they need support.


Making Announcements

Redundancies are part of today’s work life but it doesn’t make it any easier to tell people the bad news.

If you’re a manager or business owner with the task of telling staff of their redundancy, it can be a stressful time. You may not know the best way to break the news or the task is causing you anxiety. Either way, we can provide the support or training you require so it’s less stressful for everyone.

If you require help through the business’ difficult time, call us on 1800 258 487 or get in contact online

Category: Mental Health