Wednesday, July 16, 2008

1-2-3 Team IN

I love summer. Warm weather. Longer days. Vacation(s). The down side for me, though, is that this time of year, as with holidays, generally means that the work slows. More people are on vacation, meaning that they are less likely to do something warranting counseling (although you may be surprised how far-reaching some employee activity has become). The season is a relatively feel-good time of the year for most, meaning that complaints are few, or at least fewer than normal, and all is well.

Unfortunately, this summer is turning into a different animal. Companies that have been treading water during the economic downturn/slowdown/crisis/call-it-anything-but-a-recession-please are running out of energy. As the trickle-down effect of the economic situation continues to, well, trickle-down, we are beginning to receive calls that we haven't fielded in 8 or 9 years.

"Laura, we're looking at doing a mass lay-off in August. We need your help."

One of the thrilling facets of practicing in labor/employment for me is that I get to do mental gymnastics every day. Something new is always waiting. Facing the issues with my clients and carving out creative solutions or prompt methods of addressing the crisis give me the same rush that dealing with car salespeople gives my mom- and dad-in-law.

But this isn't the same. You can certainly look at reductions-in-force from the perspective that you're eliminating a few positions in order to save the greater number of positions. Fact is, that provides little or no consolation to the people who are holding those darkly-designated "few positions."

The maneuvers involved in preparing for and carrying out a reduction-in-force make solving a Rubik's Cube look simple. We encourage you to get a team together to map out the RIF, including internal and external members, to ensure that talents are put to the best use during this time. Do not try to solve this puzzle, or more importantly, bear this burden, alone.

1-2-3 Team OUT

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