Tag Archives: downsizing

How to Do More with Less

Our current economic downturn has caused many businesses and organizations to downsize in order to survive.  This poses a number of challenges.  One of which is how to best fill the roles that are vacated.  In order to successfully manage this transition, it’s important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of the employees that remain by matching your organization’s needs with the skills, motivations and aptitude of your employees.

Here are some strategies to help effectively fill the gaps left by downsizing:

  • Up skill across the organization.Your existing employees often have invaluable institutional knowledge and may have the aptitude for more varied responsibilities given the opportunity to learn new skills. For example, do you have employees that are natural leaders, who have great interpersonal skills but have not had management training?  Are there skills specific to your industry that your existing employees can learn, which would help fill some of your needs? Make sure you are having discussions with each of your employees about your organization’s needs and what new skills and experiences they desire.  These discussions will not only help you fill your gaps but will likely increase employee engagement because your employees will see that you care about their growth and development.
  • Ensure employees are playing to their strengths. Incorporating a strengths based approach can be a highly effective way to keep employees motivated and productive.  Rather than asking employees to pick up the slack by doing work that doesn’t play to their strengths, give them new opportunities to use their strengths.  The StrengthsFinder has become a quite popular and effective way to help people identify their strengths.  I have found that the implementation of the StrengthsFinder often falls short.  It is most frequently used to help employees better understand themselves and each other but is not used enough to tailor job responsibilities to match the strengths of the employees.  One way I have successfully used the StrengthsFinder is by helping organizations analyze the various strengths of their team members.  This can be particularly helpful when people are moved into new positions, as teams are more effective when comprised of people with complimentary strengths.
  • Use a psychometric assessment. In my work with clients I use the Prevue assessment to benchmark positions based on the skills, motivations and personality factors needed for a particular position.  Candidates take an assessment to see how their skills, motivations and personality match the needs identified in the benchmark.  This can be a very helpful way to fill the gaps left by downsizing with existing employees who could potentially meet the identified benchmarks.  And, using an assessment can help ensure the process of filling positions is not influenced by personal bias.

We are in the midst of very difficult times for many businesses and organizations.  In order to survive, it will be important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of your employees.  If you are not strategic during these trying times, you are likely to face a workforce with increased burn out, decreased motivation and decreased productivity, which most businesses and organizations cannot afford.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses & organizations select, develop and retain top employees.  To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Alisa at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.