How Organizations Can Avoid Layoffs With a People-First Approach: Research From HR Firm McLean & Company

As a significant number of organizations announce layoffs and restructurings, McLean & Company, the global HR research and advisory firm, suggests for those evaluating the same path to instead consider reskilling and redeployment where possible.

As signs continue to point toward an economic downturn, organizations across all industries are reevaluating resource allocation and cost-saving measures. With announcements of layoffs and downsizing becoming increasingly regular, global HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company has compiled a collection of its key pieces of talent management research to support employers seeking the best people-first, cost-saving solutions for their unique organizational needs, notably as we approach the holiday season.

“During times of crisis, such as during periods of economic uncertainty, layoffs are often the first tactic organizations turn to when prioritizing cost-saving measures,” says Karen Mann, senior vice president of HR Research, Learning & Advisory Services at McLean & Company. “However, there are avenues that can support cutting costs while positioning the organization to return to normal once the crisis passes, including redeployment and reskilling employees. These approaches serve not only to help the company pivot back to full functionality when the time requires but also to preserve employee relationships and the employer brand.”

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Redeploying and reskilling employees can seem daunting or overwhelming for organizations experiencing an economic impact on their bottom lines. For HR teams to support organizations in navigating and overcoming these challenges, the Redeploy Your Workforce During a Crisis blueprint from McLean & Company features an easy-to-follow three-step roadmap for redeployment, as outlined below:

1. Meet with leadership – In this step, it is imperative to identify which employee segments or departments are being underused and which need additional resources. This can be done through the three key components of planning for cost-cutting:

a.  Create a policy. The first step in workforce cost mitigation involves setting a clear direction. Leaders need to create a policy outlining the steps involved in cost-cutting.

b.  Investigate options. Leaders can then investigate all cost-cutting options and determine which is the most fitting for the organization.

c.  Cost out cuts. As a result, leaders will be equipped to create a plan for ensuring that they mitigate costs in the best and most viable way for the organization.

2. Plan individual and department redeployment – The second step includes identifying employees that need to be redeployed and whether their skills may be leveraged in other organizational areas, and more.

3. Monitor and manage departmental effectiveness – To properly monitor departmental performance, leaders must review key metrics by department, determine the impacts of redeployment and layoffs if required, and categorize departments based on performance.

Additional components of each step, including a full breakdown of the process, are available in the firm’s research blueprint.

McLean & Company acknowledges that there are situations in which layoffs are the only clear path forward for an organization. When this is the case, leading with empathy is critical to maintaining mutual goodwill and supporting both short- and long-term organizational goals. This is especially important to consider during the holiday season, when additional stress, pressure, and burnout are likely already running high.

Supporting research from McLean & Company also includes a guide to enable HR support for retained employees post-layoff, which identifies key responsibilities for HR and people managers, such as training and support for managers, practicing active listening, mitigating burnout, and developing retained employees to close skills gaps.

The firm’s research resources include a detailed breakdown of all steps and responsibilities as well as unique, evidence-based insights and supporting tools. Regardless of the solution, the research bundle from McLean & Company offers tactical guidance HR and organizational leaders can follow to support organizations and employees during a turbulent economic period.

As the trusted partner of HR leaders around the world, McLean & Company’s mission is to enable workplaces where everyone thrives. As such, McLean & Company is committed to supporting HR in making sound, data-backed decisions that support the broader organization’s success and longevity, while also prioritizing what HR is truly all about: an organization’s people.

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