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Downsizing: how should you manage a reduced workforce?

Betsy Dadd, Dad, Flowers Gallery

With the global economic crisis gathering pace and downsizing becoming increasingly prevalent, Tara Weiss of Forbes.com discusses the thorny issue of managing a reduced workforce.

Weiss explains that leadership in the aftermath of layoffs is a difficult task because those who survived the cut feel guilty, there's extra work with no reward and good friends within the workplace have been lost.

"What [the remaining staff] need," says the author, "is a great manager."

To achieve that status in such a situation, it is important to acknowledge the difficult emotions the staff are experiencing. According to Manny Avramidis, senior vice president for global human resources at the American Management Association, the staff need time to mourn the loss of their co-workers, "but not too much time".

Communication is key, as managers must address the fears of their staff and explain their place in the restructured organization. Unnecessary work should be identified and cut out. Employees can be part of that process. Mariotti also believes it is important that managers aren't seen to be wasting money.

How To Manage With Fewer People
Tara Weiss