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Case Study : Right Sizing
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Chrm Message From: mukundan Total Posts: 14 Join Date: 07/02/2011
Rank: Executive Post Date: 22/02/2011 03:26:16 Points: 70 Location: India

Dear Friends,

We are downsizing .

Whole exercise was done like this.

Initially there were rumours that some of the employees were going to lose job.When they approached the departmental heads, there were told that no such thing was being done ( fact being the departmental heads themselves were not aware of this).The management continued to paint rosy picture for the organisation and in fact we went for a recruitment drive

Then all of sudden some employees were called by the directors, and were told to resign with immediate effect( they were to be paid one month's salary), The employees were picked at random ( atleast that was the perception of the employees), the reason given was their skills were no longer needed by the organisation,management had nothing against them.

Since everything was kept confidential and HRD was not involved in the exercise, the HRD manager was simply handed over the list of employees to be removed and asked to tell them to go.

The manager did not know how to handle the situation, he went around the office with list in his hand, and asked the employee to resign as soon as they were spotted ( some were told at canteen,labs etc., one was told to resign while climbing stairs, exit interview was held on staircase itself!)

The manager did not know how to handle the employee-he tired his best to be as humane as possible, pleading before the employee to leave and that he had nothing to do with resignation as it was decision of "management". It was anyway a thankless job.

Staff was totally demoralized-situation was as pathetic as it was during our placement season at SIBM.

This mayhem went on for 3-4 days.Then things cooled down.

I had a good chance to see this as neutral observer.

Thing did not end here, people were recruited to fill up the vacancies,the new recruits are worse than the ones who left. Most of those who were sacked got better jobs elsewhere.

This being the case, I personally feel downsizing was a futile exercise.Till now I had read about how downzing is done, what is the ideal way to do it etc., but this time I saw with my own eyes.I read that losing job is as traumatic as divorce or death of a family member.I feel that is a accurate description.

Our organisation is not exception, most organisations remove unwanted employees in this matter, maybe in some cases they ask you to fill exit interview form, which soon goes into dustbin.

Does your organisation do it in a different way?

Do let me know.



Chrm Message From: rammohan Total Posts: 26 Join Date: 07/02/2011  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 22/02/2011 03:27:48 Points: 130 Location: India

The background on the industry would have helped in understanding the situation a little better. What i found very interesting

1) is your collegue's attitude " I had a good chance to see this as neutral observer" ....The author looked at the entire exercise as an experiece...i mean what did he do?

2) HR's exclusion from the process? Before talking about what approach other companies take to downsize, they should question their status in the organisation?

finally ....i never knew there are thumb rules for downsizing? What does the group say?

Chrm Message From: mukundan Total Posts: 14 Join Date: 07/02/2011  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 22/02/2011 03:29:33 Points: 70 Location: India

Dear Ram Mohan,

1. The industry is Information Technology and KPO.

2. The guy was in HR, has moved into other area.

I am absolutely agree with you for the role of HR. It was interesting, so thoght of sharing with you all.

Chrm Message From: bindu Total Posts: 59 Join Date: 07/02/2011  
Rank: Manager Post Date: 22/02/2011 03:31:41 Points: 295 Location: India

I read your mail and was touched. A lot of things came to my mind. I'll try to keep them away while writing this message.

First of all, from your mail, it looked to me to be a small-mediaum size firm (but surprisingly an IT/ITeS/KPO firm, is that right?). The CEO looked more of an autocrat. Is he the one who started this company?

Well, Firstly, such an important decision like downsizing was taken in isolation. All need to know why, who, when etc. This should have been a democratic process. At least the bosses of those who are gonna be affected should have been involved. Secondly, taking people related decision and asking HR to implement is absurd. Did HR man not ask the CEO logic for this, discuss better ways of implementing this. HR man chose to quickly implement the decision without thrashing it out actually speaks more about the CEO's style-he has to be a highly autocratic, aggressive leader.

HR man's style of implementation was WRONG (sorry for adding a judgement)

I haven't experienced downsizing so far, but I guess following ways could be more gentle.

1. Downsizing is a function of organisation's miscalculations, changes in external environment, change in business focus. Penalising employees for that would not be right.

2. Such decisions need to be communicated to the bosses of the employees at least. Ideally, bosses should be taken in confidence and should decide who they can do away with after a lot of deliberations.

3. HR should evolve gentle ways of doing this. Conducting exit interviews on termination is nasty/ weird thinking.Out placement is a good idea. Compensation, giving enough notice is good. One needs to try and maintain freindly atmosphere (this sounds difficult)

4. what was the recruitment drive for?

That's what I feel about the whole thing. Howz the scene there now?



Chrm Message From: lion_king Total Posts: 17 Join Date: 07/02/2011  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 22/02/2011 03:33:31 Points: 85 Location: India

Dear Mukundan - Although the outlook of the CEO towards this was definiteluyy not humane, but i feel if HR was under the pressure of asking people to leave it could have dione it in a more gentle way. it could have summoned the employee one by one and then could have clarified the matter. stopping someone at the stairs is not exactly a well thought out way of executing this order by CEO. the point is that HR could have done something(even if little) to smoothen out thne ill effects of thios order which it did not. so i wuld point fingers at HR as well. ,


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