This employer had a conversation with his Accountant (I can’t help being reminded here of the quote that Accountants know the price of everything and the value of nothing) with whom he decided the best thing to do would be to lay off 80% of his staff. The decision on who would stay or go would depend on how much redundancy fees would need to be paid – last in first out – with little regard for their work performance.
They decided being firm and open with all staff on what was going on would encourage those staying to pull their socks up and perform better.
He took each employee one at a time into his room for the dismissal where the rest of the team could blatantly see. Each came out, packed their bags and left which resulted in the remaining staff being filled with insecurity. (Warning – I feel a Professional Burnout Syndrome alert blinking over this office.)
He laid off all he felt was necessary, then distributed the work amongst those remaining.
However, the insecurity felt by each of those still in the office meant there was immediately a great fear that they would be next. Low staff morale surfaced. Cynicism kicked in as a reaction to mentally detach themselves from this company early on. This way they wouldn’t be disappointed if they were next dismissed. Exhaustion became rampant from trying to manage the work in a now under-staffed office.
These are all classic symptoms of Burnout and it encouraged more staff to look for work elsewhere before they got to be fired, thus reducing the staff more than originally intended.
With less staff the business had no resources to grow and continued it’s decline.
How common is this? Very common.
How do we get around it?
Well this is where a good Business Coach may be more useful to include in guiding a decision rather than an Accountant. A Coach would spend more time questioning what the employer is aiming for. If they are ready to reduce the business down and move onto other things in life this lay off of workers might be very appropriate. Callous, some might judge, but if others start leaving of their own accord it’s a cheap way out of paying redundancy fees.
However, if the employer wants to continue trading but the supply of work is not coming in, then a good Business Coach would be able to help them re-align with their goals, their higher purpose and to make use of the resources already at hand to help them get there.
I often find with my own clients that when they feel like they are flogging a dead horse trying to get work where there is none, it’s a higher perspective they need on what they are trying to achieve and what other avenues there are to achieve it that gets the powerful results they want.
Lateral thinking is the key and when you’re drowning in the details of running a business those brilliant business-saving ideas are very difficult to see. Once you are re-connected to what you want in life and in your business, then the opportunities start to open up again and new clients arrive perfectly timed to match the picture of your dream business.
With your own direction more firmly set, your health improves, your stress reduces. The path to success feels clearer and your staff react to that in a wonderful positive way. Now you’re not cracking the whip to force them to perform better. You are inspiring them with your own motivation and they take initiative to match those goals.
So if your business feels like it’s drowning and you’re considering the big lay off of workers, consider taking on a Business Coach who, rather than telling you what to do like a mentor, will guide you to making your own decisions on what is best for you and your company.