Downsizing Aftermath


The downsizing had been one of the largest in the company°s history. Department members remained overwhelmed by the reductions as each lapsing into their own phase of change. While some felt burdened by the task of picking up the pieces, others were simply uncomfortable doing jobs their friends had held. Gossip and personal conflicts were commonplace as employees tried to anticipate their future. Highly skilled technical experts reported to the site every day, but little effort was put into project development or maintaining communications within the various levels and departments. Upper management, further along in accepting the change, was becoming impatient with delays and poor productivity. Reports showed alarming decreases in bottom-line profitability. Most work had stopped and there was an ‘us vs. them’ attitude evidenced by a significant communication gaps between senior management, technical professionals, and administrative staff. MTM’s initial team assessment meeting was poorly attended. Conflict, distrust and frustration were clearly expressed.


The company’s future success, as low morale and initiative resulted in missed deadlines and poor performance.


Unite team members, identify major issues, vent anxieties in a controlled format, and provide recommendations that could lessen perceived negative situations.


“The hostility and conflict in this department was especially high. Not surprisingly, anger and frustration quickly surfaced during the MTM group assessments with team members as well as senior management. The MTM team conducted an internal analysis to identify specific areas of concern and cultureal norms. For this data we established goals that would support the company’s new strategies. Following a half-day workshop to vent some of the feelings, we address communication skills and sought to promote humor in the culture. The individual and team mentoring and coaching support were well received; several technical experts showed an interest and received support to move into management and leadership positions. We knew we were on the right track when we invited senior management and team members into group sessions to encourage contributions of opinions and suggestions for improvement.”


MTM’s multi-level process provided the group with a more unified perspective of the changes, allowing management to initiate new 92255443support policies and rebuild morale. Several technical experts were promoted into management positions and were able to better express the needs of highly trained, skilled workers.


Productive internal communication must be maintained, particularly during times of transition. Time pressures plus complex issues of trust and control can undermine growth, ignore attitudinal issues and prevent technical change. Leadership requires the confidence to accept risk and take action. MTM will work with you to evaluate alternative positions, select appropriate communication options, develop a plan to support growth, facilitate group dynamics, encourage open dialogue, and secure internal support.