Whatever shade of lipstick you slap on it, the ugly layoff is still a pig. Even with the economy in recovery, employers of all sizes are still going through reductions in force (RIF). Unpleasant though they are, when the need arises, it’s critical that companies get RIFs right, determining the team members and functions they need most to succeed and thrive in the future.
ERE’s Raymond Lee offers several concerns to take into consideration when preparing for an RIF:
- Take stock of existing departments and personnel to determine whether current operations are closely aligned with industry and market trends. Deficits may indicate fat prime for trimming.
- Once the workforce more closely mirrors market needs, and if further reduction is required, focus on needed skill sets at the individual level and assess remaining staff (consistently) on matters including the quality and timeliness of their work and their abilities to learn and evolve.
- Certainly a fair and unbiased process is of utmost importance. That being said, Lee suggests – before making anything official – that management take an objective look at the staff on the chopping block to see whether the selection appears discriminatory, affecting a disproportionate number of any group.
- It may be wise, as well, to bring in outside counsel to review the RIF plan in order to determine compliance with all applicable laws and policies.
Any RIF is a strategic business move and should be handled as such: fairly, with caution and with a focus solely on positioning the company for success down the road.