Interview Skills - Downsizing

Here's another tricky word (along with outsourcing).

No way around it, downsizing definitely means a whole bunch of people are going to be out of work.


Downsizing is a euphemism for:

"Oh-oh, we're not doing as well as we were, we're going to have to sack a few people."


"Hmmm, do we really need a whole PR Department? Can't we just merge it with Marketing, keep a few people and get rid of the rest?"


"We need to be lean and mean. Where are those P45s?"

Tough Times

When times are really tough people start to think if the company is going to survive they will have to make cutbacks.

Whatever the reasons, downsizing means people will be out of work.

Downsizing can be a particular shock when you're on the receiving end of it.

However necessary it is for a company to shrink its workforce when you've been told you're now out a job (through no fault of your own).

Read our snack on redundancy for more insight.

The Knock-on Effects Of Downsizing

Downsizing has a number of knock-on effects.

There's the trauma of people being 'let go' as well as the effort needed to make sure those who have been 'downsized' are taken care of.

Care For People Leaving

Many companies have programmes in place to help people find new jobs, get their CVs up to speed and even may include counselling sessions.

Care For Those Who Remain

However, another huge impact affects the people left behind

Feelings there can range from 'survivor guilt' to complete lack of motivation, fear that they'll be next (waiting for the other shoe to drop), disincentive to make any real effort, distrust of the organisation as a whole.

Irrational Fears

Now many of these feelings could be looked on as irrational - after all, the economy is making many companies face a reality check of just what they can afford, including staff numbers.

What do you expect them to do? Keep everyone on payroll and go bankrupt?

But irrational feelings and thoughts are all part of it, and companies would do well not just to think about the people who are being forced to leave, but equally, they need to take care of the people who remain.

Keeping People Motivated

Keeping people motivated and on board are essential, because in many cases those who stay will need to be doing more or will at least be expected to perform to an optimum level and with increased efficiency.

We often hear the term 'high performance' and to the employer what they mean is their people need to be sharper, more proficient, inspiring to others and in essence, bringing home the bacon.

We're All Still People

To the employees, on the other hand, it may mean, I'm being asked to do more, work longer hours, no or minimal increase in pay, and smile while I'm about it.

Downsizing isn't simply a matter of leaner meaner or as a response to the financial issues facing us all; it is about people and the quality of how they leave or how they stay.

Interview Skills - Downsizing

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