Think Rightsizing Rather Than Downsizing for Your Business

Think Rightsizing Rather Than Downsizing for Your Business

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During seasons of economic uncertainty, business owners must sometimes make difficult decisions about their workforce. In some cases, this might mean putting a freeze on new hires or even considering a possible layoff. 

This “downsizing” mindset is very much at odds with current HR practices, which focus on employee development, retention, and long-term engagement. That’s why many team building experts now advocate for an approach known as rightsizing, which may be a viable alternative to downsizing.

What’s the difference between downsizing and rightsizing?

Basically, downsizing is all about taking action to reduce your workforce, and thereby to reduce the expenses that come with your workforce. Think payroll, benefits, etc.

If downsizing focuses on reducing workforce and human resources, rightsizing is all about maintaining the correct number of human resources. This means taking a big picture view of your organization to assess the personnel and skills required for you to operate at peak efficiency.

Rightsizing may sometimes involve personnel cuts, but more often it involves more incremental changes: Gradually shifting and redefining roles, putting recruitment on time, and bringing in workforce specialists to identify any skills gaps that the company needs to fill.

The benefits of rightsizing

The rightsizing approach offers a number of advantages over downsizing. For example:

  • Rightsizing can help you protect the reputation of your business, as it generally allows you to avoid major layoffs (which are typically interpreted as signs of internal conflict, mismanagement, or financial scarcity).
  • Rightsizing can also be a good way to build a team of all-stars, as it’s focused not just on having a manageable workforce size but on having the right balance of skills. To put it differently, rightsizing is all about maintaining just the right number of employees by ensuring that each of them is a team player, highly competent, and qualified.
  • Rightsizing may also help you increase your profits, whether by allowing you to avoid redundant hires or, in some cases, by prompting you to eliminate employees or positions that don’t contribute any value to the bottom line.

If you do decide to pursue rightsizing for your team, it’s best to keep a few simple guidelines in mind.

Start with an audit

Don’t do anything before you pause to take stock of your current workforce. What are the essential positions? Who are the essential employees, and who are the employees who underperform?

Consider operational details

Rightsizing isn’t just about personnel. It also involves contemplating cost-saving and efficiency-boosting measures that can allow you to utilize your current personnel more effectively: Switching some employees to remote work if appropriate, investing in automation technology, etc.

Consider rehiring options

If you do decide to let some employees go, remember that you don’t have to sever your professional relationships forever. Consider the option of rehiring protocols in your rightsizing efforts.

Engage employees

Finally, be sure to involve your current employees in the decision-making process, inviting them to conduct 360 reviews to help you assess management issues, identify promising employees, etc.

Downsizing isn’t always avoidable, but if your company is facing workforce inefficiencies, it may be worthwhile to consider the merits of rightsizing.

About the author: Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at


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