Staff Reductions (Part 3): What Happens When The Ship Is Righted?

In this final installment of our Reduction in Force (“RIF”) articles, we focus on what happens afterwards.  One of the first items to deal with is managing the inevitable fall-out from the RIF. No matter how well planned or how economically justifiable, a RIF will emotionally jar remaining employees.  According to a recent study in the Academy of Management Journal, even modest downsizings in a company trigger an upturn in job seeking efforts by sometimes the most valued employees. Employees who survive a RIF must be assured that the reduction was undertaken to secure key job posts and stabilize business.

One of the current challenges for corporate leaders, globally, is employee retention.  Not only do employers need to do everything possible to keep their existing workforce in place but for those with job vacancies that require filling, recruiting and retaining top talent is a challenge in light of the numerous job seekers competing for limited coveted positions.

A survey conducted by SHRM and highlighted that the top three reasons employees search for new jobs include (53%) better compensation and benefits, (35%) dissatisfaction with potential career development, and (32%) ready for a new experience.  These interesting studies also indicate that the top three reasons employers are able to successfully retain talent include tuition reimbursement, vacation/holiday benefits, and competitive salaries.

Finally, as noted human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield offers, the following “Golden Rules” should be considered in your efforts to successfully retain talent:

  • Select the right people through behavior-based testing and competency screening.
  • Offer attractive, competitive, benefits packages.
  • Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge via training sessions, presentations, mentoring others and team assignments.
  • Demonstrate respect for employees at all times. Listen deeply, use employee suggestions, and never ridicule or shame employees for offering new ideas.
  • Offer performance feedback and praise good efforts and results.
  • Make work fun. Engage and employ the special talents of each individual.
  • Enable employees to balance work and life. Allow flexible starting times, core business hours and flexible ending times.
  • Recognize excellent performance, and especially, link pay to performance.
  • Base the upside of bonus potential on the success of both the employee and the company and make it limitless within company parameters.
  • Nurture and celebrate organizational traditions (e.g., Halloween costume parties,   Fall food drives, monthly charity events, and annual company dinner, etc.)
  • Cross-train and offer career progression through education and challenging assignments. People like to know that they have room for career movement.
  • And encourage employees to have good— even best— friends, at work.

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