You Downsized: Where Did All of Your Experts Go??

 Downsizing, as a strategic option, started in the 1980s and continues largely unabated today. IT departments have not been immune to downsizing.  In 2005, Gartner predicted that by 2010, the number of IT staff in the profession would shrink by 15 percent. 

The prediction has played out into reality. While downsizing has reduced expenses for banks, and helped departments meet expense reduction goals, there has also been a price to pay for those left in the organization. Changing job descriptions, increased responsibilities, learning curves for new expectations, and shifts in supervisory roles, all come out of downsizing and can affect the long term productivity of IT areas.

Even though the recession appears to be behind us, organizations are still looking at downsizing, in some cases. Before you cut further, we recommend thinking through several areas:

  • Loss of skilled and reliable workers.  Unless you are proactive, the “gems” on your staff will leave you.
  • Workers who remain may feel insecure and disoriented when facing the new realities resulting in lack of productivity. 
  • Longer timelines and increased project costs are seen due to inexperience on applications.
  • Issue response time may be lengthened.
  • Increased time on projects and longer issue response times may lead to an increase in overtime wages, as less experienced staff is trying to respond to more issues.  
  • Difficulty in finding new suitable workers to take advantage of opportunities and sudden turnarounds makes the company ill-equipped and ill-prepared. 
  • Downsizing results in disruption of interpersonal relationships at work, both formal and informal.  These relationships are not only within the IT department but across organizational units supported by the department.
  • Employee attitudes may change for the worse, possibly leading to tardiness and absenteeism.

As you think about the issues, we recommend laying out a plan of how to respond to the potential issues. This plan should include a plan for bringing in supplemental or project specific staff to fill the gaps, as they arise.

  • What applications will lose key support in the proposed downsizing? What needs and issues may arise in the short-term and long-term? How can we proactively respond to those issues?
  • Downsizing will change timelines. How will those timelines change? What impact will that have on the department and organizational goals? How can we mitigate delays?
  • When new opportunities arise, how can we staff to respond to those projects?

By having a plan in place, you can go to management with a strategy to keep business flowing, keep goals on track, and ensure minimal disruption to the end customer.

Many of our clients have called us into to help them through a downsizing or to respond to needs in the months and years after a downsizing. We can also help clients build proactive staffing plans in anticipation of staffing changes, mergers, acquisitions, or upgrades.

We encourage you to call on our Client Relations team to talk through your challenges and learn how we have supported other organizations through staffing changes.




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