Managing Under Stress

Difficult economic situations seem to magnify any existing weakness within an organization and can force employers to take drastic steps to save the business, often through the use of staff reductions. This article will review strategies used by leaders and managers in great workplaces, when faced with impending layoffs. Ensuring that staff reductions occur in a manner that shows respect and care for those directly and indirectly affected by layoffs is critical to keeping any business moving forward during tough economic times.

The Best Companies to Work For are not immune to stressful circumstances, however, as these stories and practices will illustrate, leaders in great workplaces are skilled at addressing staff reductions in a manner that maintains and even builds trust with employees.

What sets great workplaces apart in managing staff reductions is not the « benefits » offered to employees who are let go – though the Best Companies to Work For generally offer generous severance packages and out placement services. Rather, it is how leaders approach these difficult situations and how information about the process of staff reductions is communicated throughout the organization that makes a difference. When great workplaces cannot avoid layoffs, the reductions are managed in a way that maintains the trust that managers have built with their employees. A review of information we have collected over the years about how leaders in Best Companies approach layoffs points to a number of themes about how they make it through,…

• Employees in Best Companies trust that layoffs are only being pursued as a last resort

Employees are kept informed about the business conditions that necessitate the reductions
• Reductions are communicated in a way that is appropriate to the culture or circumstances of that particular workplace
• Details regarding the reductions are communicated to all employees, even those not directly affected

Read the full article by Leslie Caccamese, Manager at Great Place to Work® Institute Inc.

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